Building the Next Generation of Conservationists
In recent years, “nature-deficit disorder” has become the term used to describe the increasing alienation of children from nature—their isolation in urbanized environments with lack of access to open space, the proliferation of technology and electronic communications which absorbs their attention, and the seemingly diminished importance of the natural world in our day-to-day lives.
In the effort to fight nature-deficit disorder and raise awareness of the natural resources that need protecting in our region, The LandTrust has developed a youth initiative. The Leopold Society is designed to enlighten youth participants from grades 6 to 12 on the natural world and conservation issues. Participants will learn conservation techniques, outdoor skills, and hands-on natural resource stewardship and service. They will engage in outdoor recreation and skill-building activities. Many of these activities will be completed independently with the intent to bring families together in the outdoors. The long-term goal of the program is to instill a lifelong love of nature in youth participants that will translate into positive action as adults.
The program will include a “passport” with requirements for the participants to complete various activities related to the outdoors, such as hiking, paddling, hunting, fishing, and orienteering. This wide array of activities will enable participants to engage in all facets of conservation and outdoor recreation. Along with the skills developed, participants are asked to complete a service project, such as trail maintenance, develop a school recycling program, a new hunter mentorship program, or a start a native plants garden. The service project can be completed independently or as part of a class. As they complete activities, participants will receive stamps and patches to recognize their achievements. Finally, The LandTrust hopes to award college scholarships to qualifying high school seniors that complete the program.
Beginning late fall 2016, The LandTrust will partner with local schools to introduce The Leopold Society. In this pilot year, our goal is to work with 5 schools to enroll at least one class into The Leopold Society. During the summer months, we will look to partner with county recreational departments to identify summer programs that would benefit from activities highlighted within The Leopold Society.
Leopold Society memberships are $15 for youth participants.
If you are interested in joining The Leopold Society or getting your child’s school involved, please contact Mikey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-647-0302.
We would like to thank the following sponsors for supporting The Leopold Society and the next generation of conservationists!
Fred and Alice Stanback Peter Hairston