Engaging Students Outdoors in Atlanta

A Look Back at Earth Tomorrow Summer Institute 2016

While most American’s were firing up the grill to celebrate the Fourth of July, Earth Tomorrow® student leaders were checking in for the 15th Annual Earth Tomorrow® Summer Institute that took place at the Georgia Institute of Technology during the week of July 3rd – 8th.
Earth Tomorrow Summer Institute participants gardening. Photo by Sabatani Shetu

The Earth Tomorrow Summer Institute is one component of the National Wildlife Federation’s year-round Earth Tomorrow program that includes a week-long, intensive residential experience. Participants learn about local environmental issues, take outdoor field trips, engage in hands-on ecosystem study and restoration, gain leadership skills, and are exposed to environmental careers. To promote physical activity and enjoyment of the great outdoors, they also are immersed in recreational activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, archery, rock climbing, and geocaching.

In its 15th summer, twenty-three student leaders from eight Metro Atlanta high schools were selected through a competitive process, to participate in the Earth Tomorrow® Summer Institute. They spent an unforgettable week engaged in activities that ranged from water quality monitoring, gardening, and learning about climate change to zip-lining to meeting influential and inspiring environmental professionals.

Earth Tomorrow Summer Institute participants get right to work. Photo by Sabatani Shetu

Six college students and Earth Tomorrow® graduates served as Peer Mentors for the week and played a critical role in overseeing student activities, guiding students in strategic planning efforts to map out plans for their school-based environmental clubs, and encouraging students to get out of their comfort zones to try new experiences.

A host of local environmental and natural resource professionals and activists from NWF’s vast network of community partners and like-minded organizations joined the NWF Atlanta Office staff and NWF South Central Regional Executive Director, Susan Kaderka, in making the 15th Annual Summer Institute a memorable and significant step in the cultivation of the next generation of conservation and environmental leaders.

Dennis Krusac with the USDA Forest Service Southern Region and a long-time partner and previous funder of Earth Tomorrow® had this to say about the program:

   “The Earth Tomorrow Summer Institute is an amazing environmental leadership development program. Programs like this will insure the planet is in good hands for future generations.”

Photo Credit: Charles Brown
Earth Tomorrow Summer Institute participants cleaning up a local river. Photo by Charles Brown

Check out our Earth Tomorrow® Flickr account with photos from various activities from the most recent years of the program. Also, visit our Earth Tomorrow page on Facebook to learn more about the program and to see photos and a video clip from this year’s summer institute.

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Special thanks to the Kendeda Fund, other host of other local and national funders, and NWF’s community partners for supporting the Atlanta Earth Tomorrow® program over the years!