Voices of NWF’s Young Leaders Assembly: Youth Mentorship in Atlanta by Imran Battla

by Imran Battla
Senior Program Manager,  Applied Mentorship Program for Sustainability

On April 21, 2011, sixty elementary school kids from Dobbs Elementary School part of the Atlanta Public Schools and and God’s Little Angels Academy based in Lithonia GA, came to the OAC to learn about water conservation and to connect to nature by helping to install a rain garden, working to refurbish the frog pond, and learning about the insects that inhabit the OAC Forest.  The highlight for many of the students was the release of host of beatutiful butterflies as they worked with Ms. Evonne (affectionately called “The Bug Lady”)! This terrific Earth Day project was held at the Outdoor Activity Center (OAC) in partnership with NWF Earth Tomorrow of Atlanta,GA  Green for All of Oakland, CA and the Ludacris Foundation of Atlanta, GA.

The Earth Day event was pulled together in a very quick timeframe, and we appreciate evertything that was done to make this day meaningful for the kids and helpful for WAWA (West Atlanta Watershed Alliance) and the OAC (Outdoor Activity Center) as we try to raise the profile of both. Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam (best known for her role as “Rudy” on the Cosby Show), Radio Personality, Rasahan Ali, and Rapper Ludacris’ Mom, Roberta Shields were on hand to help the kids plant in the rain garden and connect to the natural world in new and special ways! Atlanta Falcons “Green” Starting Fullback Ovie Mughelli dropped by to catch a bit of the fun, and he pledged to come back to hold his “Recycle on the Run” event at the OAC for West Atlanta youth!

Photo courtesy West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA).
Photo courtesy West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA).

Check out the Green for All blog post with photos from the day.

So far, we’ve had a great Earth Month starting with the well-attended Urban Forestry Festival on April 2nd, the debut of “Storytime in the Forest” and Spring Break Activities for youth in the community, and a full day of activities for area girl scouts on April 16th! Add the service projects that we’ve already had and the upcoming environmental education outreach events planned for the rest of the month, and you’ve got a fantastic earth month for WAWA and the OAC!

I know that many events are happening, and encourage you to get as actively involved in your local community. Personally, it’s been a whirlwhind month of sustainable events and traveling to D.C. for NWF Young Leader Assembly & Powershift 2011, but I thought last week was pretty special as we work to build a sustainable community in West End Atlanta.

For more information, check out CBS Atlanta’s Web Article and Video on the event, along with a slideshow of pics from the day, or even more event photos taken by Green For All Videographer & Media Archivist, Ryan Dexter.

Imran Battla is a 2011 delegate to the NWF Young Leaders Assembly and Senior Program Manager of the Applied Mentorship Program for Sustainability based in Atlanta, GA.