Youth Environmental Leadership Program
Although growing concern about environmental degradation has led to various conservation efforts, there is a general disconnection between these efforts and schools. This is due to a lack of awareness of how much significant work students can do toward monitoring, restoration, and public education.
At the same time, schools are becoming increasingly aware of the need to teach students about the environment. Unfortunately, they have little connection to real, local issues. For students, participative learning has a strong and positive educational impact, as research and action on real issues in their local ecosystems not only helps the students increase their understanding, but also helps elevate their sense of self-worth and interest in the learning process. Moreover, by doing projects in their local community they develop a sense of stewardship and civic responsibility.
The Yangtze River basin is home to a wealth of students from different cultural backgrounds, who through this project, can be engaged to enhance ecosystem education and stewardship. Thus, environmental and community initiatives also need to address cultural diversity, which includes multiple ethnicities, religions, and social groups. It is important that all students and their families can understand how their actions affect the ecosystem and become a part of the effort to maintain or restore its health. They can tap into their rich cultural traditions for knowledge, skill and wisdom that are in line with living in harmony with nature.
Not only will the Youth Leadership Program help improve the local environment, but it will also foster civic advocacy in the community through the efforts of these youths. A cadre of youth will inspire their schoolmates, teachers and community to develop new environmental projects. The implemented structures will establish a model for student leadership that can be replicated and expanded into other regions.
Finally, a team of experts will select outstanding projects to reward the students with award certificates and to present those projects to a wider public through NGS media. The Youth Leadership Program Awards and the publication serve to recognize and celebrate their achievements.