Inspiring Future Generations

Kids play with sand and tools outdoors at the Little Giants Learning Center
Photo Credit: David Lynn Photography

Finding New Ways to Reach Young Conservationists

The Federation believes it is everyone’s duty to be a caretaker of the earth and to improve the environment for those yet to come. That is why we work to inspire future generations and to reach out to include those usually overlooked by environmental programs. Our efforts have enabled Texan students to improve their local watershed, supported small farmers and farmers of color in using sustainable agriculture practices, promoted healthy outdoor spaces for young children, and awarded scholarships to young adults pursuing environmental studies.

Our mission is to develop lifelong habits of environmental stewardship and community service. At a time when college tuition and fees are at astronomical levels, Federation scholarship is the type of support students can appreciate best.

Brendon Barclay, Education and Engagement Manager
Climate Resilience Ambassadors help communities
A small native plant garden at Adamson HS in Dallas, TX
Photo Credit: NWF
Students from Overton Elementary school in Austin showcase a colorful poster depicting the lifecycle of a butterfly.
Photo Credit: Alaya Keane

Students Dig in to Protect Houston Communities from Flooding

Flood-prone neighborhoods in Houston, Texas, usually are home to historically marginalized communities. Our Student Climate Resilience Ambassadors program helped teachers and students, particularly in marginalized communities, combat the causes of flooding in their neighborhoods and learn how to promote healthy watersheds. In the 2022-2023 school year, students from eight Houston middle and high schools participated in the Student Climate Resilience Ambassadors program. They learned how to assess the vulnerability of their neighborhoods and school campuses. They then used this information to design, implement, and maintain programs to mitigate flooding, such as creating pocket prairies and rain gardens at their schools. A related field experience, in partnership with the Galveston Bay Foundation, helped students connect the dots between the actions they took to improve their local watershed and the health of the larger Galveston Bay ecosystem.

Photo Credit: Marya Fowler

Students planting a rain garden

Growing Outreach: Farmers Share Their Sustainable Practices

The Federation’s Conservation Champions program provides small farmers with the training and funding to host outreach activities that allow them to share with others how they follow sustainable practices, a critical way to protect the environment and improve soil fertility. Through this program, our team strengthened its partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and forged new ones with the USDA and local and state conservation allies that support the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices. Our work in the Southeast focused on engaging with and supporting Black farmers who have historically been overlooked by sustainable agriculture programs.           

Photo Credit: Muse 3 Farm

Farmer stands in front of cattle in a field on Muse 3 Farm

Increasing Access to Nature for Young Children

Every young child deserves a healthy and safe outdoor space to play, learn, and connect with nature. In the past year, the Early Childhood Health Outdoors initiative received one of the largest COVID-relief grants in Colorado designated to support early care and education and used the funds to enhance outdoor spaces for young children. The initiative reached out across the state to a range of childcare programs, from home-based educators to childcare centers, to provide professional development and pass-through funding to 78 childcare programs and educators. The Early Childhood Health Outdoors program’s work is expanding across the country, helping communities in Michigan, Texas, New Mexico, South Carolina and Washington, D.C., with outdoor play and learning experiences for young children.

Photo Credit: David Lynn Photography

Young JEDI Masters Find Our Force is with Them

The Earth Tomorrow program cultivates a new generation of lifetime stewards through a year-long cycle of leadership training, issues exploration, civic engagement, career development, community outreach and education, and student-led community action projects for teens. Once these high school students graduate, almost all of them go on to college. We are able to continue the work of developing them as emerging leaders by providing them with peer mentor positions working directly with the Earth Tomorrow Summer Institute.

Our Black Employee Resource Group wanted to provide college scholarships to these emerging leaders to encourage and support their collective justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) efforts. The Black Employee Resource Group was able to identify seven college students who received one-thousand dollars each in scholarships. It was the Federation’s way of saying, “May the force be with you. We have your back!”

Photo Credit: Marya Fowler & Michael Valdez

Earth Tomorrow student gesturing toward a light