We will provide young environmental leaders (age 12-20) of the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve (SGBR) with leadership training, environmental education, guidance, and a community of fellow young activists though a regional network of EcoClubs. Empowered by confidence and knowledge of sustainable practices, these leaders will promote environmental stewardship in their communities, organizing clean-ups, recycling programs, organic agriculture, and campaigns to reduce their communities' footprint.
The Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve suffers from deforestation, biodiversity loss, trash mismanagement, and unsustainable agriculture. These activities threaten the Reserve and contribute to climate change. The region also lacks economic opportunities and its public education system fails to provide students with skills for making a living. Local youth are unable to make a profit from their families' traditional agricultural activities, and so are forced to migrate out of the Sierra Gorda.
This project provides environmental education and leadership training, helping youth to spearhead local adoption of climate solutions. When youth lead initiatives such as ecosystem restoration and reforestation, they increase community environmental awareness and local resilience to climate change. Trained in sustainable farming, they transform their families' traditional agricultural practices, increasing profitability and food security while mitigating desertification and climate change.
Youth who are deeply invested in their environment are less likely to migrate and more likely to steward their home over the long term. This project strengthens participants' connection to the local environment and to fellow young citizens through the Eco-Club network. As youth become leaders in their communities, they will guide the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve towards sustainable development, holistic land management, and biodiversity conservation.