We face a barrage of environmental threats, from global issues of climate change and air pollution to local problems of habitat fragmentation and invasive species encroachment. Our society’s youth are born into a wounded environment and we look to them to create a better future for Earth and humanity. However, instead of growing up with a strong bond with nature, today’s youth are attached to technology and often reach adulthood without experiencing the wonders of intact natural ecosystems. How can we help adolescents experience the wonder of nature and develop a connection to Earth? At Conserve School in northern Wisconsin 11th grade students from across the United States participate in a 14 week program focused on experiential learning in the northwoods. I highlight several features that make this program successful, identify shortcomings of the program, and suggest possible improvements. I also suggest components of Conserve School’s program that could be added to other school’s curriculum to increase the number of environmental stewards in the future.
Inspiring Students to be Environmental Stewards