Guest Blog: Connecting large landscapes begins with connecting youth climate leaders
Conservation Northwest / Aug 25, 2020 / Climate Change, Connecting Habitat
Youth-led organization The Tomorrow Project educates the next generation of climate activists and conservationists for a wild Northwest
By Wednesday Satterlee, The Tomorrow Project
Since 1989, Conservation Northwest’s work has revolved around the importance of protecting, connecting and restoring Northwest wildlife and wildlands. Their programs that link and restore fragmented habitat and implement wildlife crossings connect large landscapes from the Olympics to the Cascades, and the Cascades to the Rockies. These efforts ensure wildlife have the room they need to roam, and humans can safely travel through wildlife corridors without risking collisions with animals.
Protecting and connecting large landscapes also promotes climate resiliency, which is critical for the sustained health of the Northwest and the world as a whole. By connecting habitats, plants and animals that would otherwise not be able to survive due to a changing climate are able to migrate to habitats that have the required elements for those species to thrive. Human development is increasing every day, therefore maintaining and reconnecting our landscapes is vital to a sustainable Northwest. A future with thriving, connected landscapes starts with connecting people through education and mentorship.
The Tomorrow Project is a youth-led nonprofit tackling climate change from the root cause of education. We began by creating environmental curriculum to teach young students the importance of sustainability through peer-to-peer teaching, and started reaching out to schools in the greater Seattle area. In just a few short months, we had collaborated with six schools and more than 500 students!
Along with leading interactive workshops, the team offers ideas to schools to help them continue to build off of their time in the classrooms, from environmentally-focused assemblies to composting programs and community gardens.
“Education is a form of resiliency. By teaching kids about the importance of making good choices for the environment, we are promoting healthy habits, and as a result the planet will benefit long-term,” said Maxwell Feldman, Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Tomorrow Project.
Keeping landscapes connected is going to be the responsibility of the next generation. We all cherish activities like camping with our family, hiking through parks, skiing every winter, and enjoying nature in so many other ways. With the future in our hands we need to make sure those activities are available for generations to come. The Tomorrow Project works to educate students on the importance of conserving our environment, because connected and protected wild landscapes mean a thriving life for everyone.
Despite having to postpone all of their scheduled in-person workshops due to COVID-19, The Tomorrow Project has continued to fulfill their vision for a better future powered by environmental education in an online setting. During this time, pockets of volunteers across the nation have crystallized into seven new chapters of the organization! At home, volunteers are busy designing online curriculum, working on our newsletter and creating partnerships with other environmental organizations via online communication. By the end of 2021, our goal is to have more than 15 chapters and partnerships with over 40 schools across the country.
The protection and connection of large landscapes is going to have to begin with the connection of change-makers nationwide. With the amazing support from the many volunteers working every day at The Tomorrow Project, our hope is that the work we do will broaden the vision of today’s youth and provide a better, greener, future for all.