Project-Based Learning for EcoLeaders

NWF EcoLeaders Top 50 Inspirations

Summer is upon us. Whether you are resting and relaxing with friends and family, getting some hands-on experience with an internship or summer job, implementing a project in your community, or starting to plan an on-campus sustainability project for the next academic year, check out the advice from our newest group of inspiring young professionals, who champion the benefits of project-based learning and leadership.
EcoLeaders Top 50 June 2016

EcoLeaders Top 50 June 2016

Throughout 2016, the EcoLeaders Career Center, hosted by the National Wildlife Federation and partners, is celebrating the motivating stories and career accomplishments of young professionals making their names (and a difference) in the sustainability movement. We’re calling this group of change-makers and rising stars “The EcoLeaders List” and are announcing a new group of inspirational leaders each month this year. We’re honored to present the next group of four inspiring young EcoProfessionals as part of our “NWF EcoLeaders Top 50 Inspirations of 2016” series.

Four for June 2016

Our fifth group of four EcoProfessionals was recently interviewed for the national EcoLeader Career Center. These featured four below each described the importance of obtaining project-based experience and developing leadership potential while in school or at the start of a career in sustainability.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Sartain

Photo courtesy of Andrew Sartain

Andrew Sartain: Andrew is the Founder and President of Earth Rebirth, which has been awarded the 2014 Recycling Nonprofit of the Year (Metro Environmental Trust of Tulsa), 2015 Environmental Excellence Award for Nonprofits serving communities 40,000+ (Keep OK Beautiful) and 2016 Small Business Recycling Award (Norman Chamber of Commerce). His NWF fellowship focused on developing an energy management social network allowing consumers to buy, sell & trade energy and fuel with others. Read Andrew’s full interview here.

“Project management experience and the planning tools are important, so you’re not just knowing what your goals are, but how you should actually get there. I’d say that’s a very, very valuable skill that this leadership program offers.” – Andrew Sartain

Photo courtesy of Michael Gale

Photo courtesy of Michael Gale

Michael Gale: Michael is a Special Assistant with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, working in the National Wildlife Refuge System on a range of natural resource policy issues. He is continuing to work on his biodiversity-themed fantasy novel, entitled Keystone, which was also the focus of his NWF Fellowship work and through which he hopes to inspire fantasy literature fans to take action for conservation. Read Michael’s full interview here.

“As students, we don’t think a lot about our narrative; we think about getting through the next test. But when you’re thinking about your career, it really is all about your relationships and your narrative. Build those interpersonal skills and leadership skills early on and be nice and kind and empathetic in all of your work, I think it goes a long way.’” – Michael Gale

Photo courtesy of Clare Thomas

Photo courtesy of Clare Thomas

Kimberly Reeves: Kimberly is a Sustainability Programs Manager at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. As an NWF Fellow, Kimberly updated the Agnes Scott College campus arboretum and led an initiative to earn the campus a Tree Campus USA status as well as later act as a pilot campus for the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban Forestry Sustainability and Management Audit. Read Kimberly’s full interview here.

“The most valuable thing I learned was successful projects stem from positive, forward-thinking people, which comes from engaged leadership. Celebrating the small victories help a team feel on track to attain the larger goal.” – Kimberly Reeves

Photo courtesy of Andrew Kamerosky

Photo courtesy of Andrew Kamerosky

Andrew Kamerosky: Andrew is Ph.D. Student and Research Assistant at Florida Atlantic University. As a Fellow, Andrew helped foster the integration of sustainability into the Bethune-Cookman University campus community and create a zero-emissions building for the Integrated Environmental Science (IES) Department. Read Andrew’s full interview here.

“Project-based approaches to problems make the most sense, especially in the benefits provided by the division of labor and incorporating multiple members with the ability to apply various backgrounds. You can approach problems from an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspective.” – Andrew Kamerosky

Read full interviews in the NWF EcoLeaders Career Center.

EcoLeaders is the nation’s first project-based leadership development program for sustainability, leading to certification for college students and young professionals. EcoLeaders provides a career edge that helps the planet while helping thousands of emerging leaders do well by doing good for their communities.

If you think that you, or someone you know, would be a great addition to this list as it grows throughout the year and beyond, please send us a brief email with contact information and a quick bio at

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