For decades, conservation educators have played a pivotal role in effecting community change within The Intertwine. Ultimately, our conservation education initiative aims to spur a cultural shift toward an ethic of stewardship; more time spent outdoors by all residents, enjoying the manifold psychological, physical and spiritual benefits of nature; and behaviors that exhibit a strong commitment to sustainable and nature-supporting practices.
Our region boasts an impressive array of urban wildlife and high‐quality outdoors opportunities. These opportunities are laced together in The Intertwine: the network of parks, trails and natural areas enjoyed by residents across the region. Yet, national trends indicate that the time people spend outdoors is in steep decline, ecological literacy is dropping, levels of childhood and adult obesity are increasing at alarming rates and children are experiencing upwards of seven hours per day in front of screens.
As a region, we possess the collective capacity to address the challenge of what Richard Louv has called “nature deficit disorder” through our dynamic system of conservation education activities. We propose a vision, unrestrained by current societal trends or disparities within our system, to energize and align efforts in the region. We envision a future where everyone shares a lifelong connectedness with nature. To realize this vision, the youth engagement sector is called to engage head, heart, and hands in actively knowing, valuing, and stewarding this place we love.
Youth engagement and education is vital to realizing this vision and improving the livability of this region, as well as to supporting the success of The Intertwine Alliance. We imagine the day when:
- everyone enjoys easy access to nature and natural resources,
- our youth are scientifically and ecologically literate, inspired with curiosity and motivated by our knowledge,
- environmental education is fully integrated with formal, school‐based learning,
- and our community sustains a system of conservation education that is maximized through collaboration and supported with substantial resources, both financial and technical.
Outcome: Residents engage in lifelong learning about and stewardship of nature.