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Youth Climate Leaders

Youth Climate Leaders Peer Education Program

We are looking for youth that are interested in building their knowledge and skills for leadership in climate change advocacy. We are excited to support youth who want to increase their ability to teach and speak to their peers about environmental issues that are impacting their community and their world. These might be young people who have not previously had background knowledge of climate change but have an eagerness to learn about changing the way our societal structures address the human connection to our environment. We are looking to engage young folks from all walks of life looking to influence their peers in positive ways to make changes for our collective futures surrounding climate change.

Youth Climate Leaders (YCL) Peer Education is a comprehensive 40-hour training program for young people ages 13 to 17. The program gives teens the tools to advocate for a resilient future and share accurate information with peers and community.

Learn more and register for the August 2021 program here! Open registration begins April 7.

For questions, please contact program coordinator Amber Hejl at Ahejl@NatureCenter.org


Ardea Youth Climate CoalitionArdea Youth Climate Coalition Update
Through community support and collaboration with Schools for Climate Action, we were able to provide a space at Heronwood Field Station (HFS) for Kalamazoo County youth to learn about climate change and become peer educators in their schools. In August, students shared a week-long team-building and training session that solidified them as a group and infused them with current climate change knowledge and action strategies. Several community climate activists presented their work, either in-person or viturally. At the end of the week, students joined the virtual Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition meeting to share their stories and gain support from community members. 
After their team building time at HFS, they named their group the Ardea Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC). Ardea is the genus name for the Heron family. The name seemed fitting since Heronwood was where their coalition got started. AYCC has become a cohort for mutual support of climate projects. The studetns also became fast friends, supporting each other through the many changes this school year has presented. The students’ first accomplishment was to create their own climate resolution with support from Deb Freiman and Deirdre Courtney from Schools for Climate Action Michigan. 
Two students have already undertaken independent projects. Emerson Wesselhoff has partnered with the Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center to create a presentation for freshman in honors biology. She will utilize the EnRoads climate change simulator to support her talk on climate change action. Ella Parker partnered with the Youth Advisory Committee in Portage to support them as they write their climate change resolution and create a climate action subcommittee within their team. We are all looking forward to more to come from these bright and driven young folks!

Our Goals

Goal 1: Help develop a local network of skilled and knowledgeable youth climate leaders through a peer education model. 

Goal 2: Support a network of knowledgeable youth climate leaders toward empowering increased local engagement in climate change work. 

Goal 3: Facilitate youth involvement in building community resilience through annual peer education programming and networking. 

Goal 4: Connect youth leaders with resources to support their plans, goals, and actions. 

Goal 5: Support year long leadership development through bi-weekly meetings with peer educators.  


Youth Goals:

To be developed by youth climate leaders during our training week.