CONTACT: Ellie Cosgrove,  541-515-3154; Kristi Mergenthaler,  541-482-3069 Ex 105; Tara Laidlaw 541-482-3069 ext. 111; Kathy Keesee, 541-245-1625
SUBJECT:  Youth Climate Protectors

Many kids lack the opportunity to spend time outside and learn about global warming and its effects.  Local environmental and community leaders are remedying this problem for some students.

Thanks to a successful grant application funded by the Oregon Health Authority, three local organizations have teamed up to develop a program for local youth that takes them outside to learn about the science of global warming and the threats it poses to the region. The program was developed and is being offered by Southern Oregon Climate Action Now in collaboration with Southern Oregon Land Conservancy and the NOWIA Unete Center for Farmworker Advocacy.

Together the organizers developed a culturally responsive and place-based course for Latino/a/x high school students that focuses on climate change and its effects in our local communities.  The course, offered outside school hours, is modeled on SOCAN’s Master Climate Protector course. It launched in April and runs through late June. After a first session held at the office of NOWIA Unete, the participants embarked on a series of classes that were held outdoors.  Subsequent sessions have included: physical exercise (featuring hiking, stewardship and conservation tasks), mental health and wellness practice (nature journaling, self-reflection), science content (short guest lectures, guided discussion), action steps (community science, environmental monitoring), and celebration of cultural and community assets and student-led planning for climate resilience. Participants enjoyed a fishing day at Acorn Lake, tours of Willow-Witt Ranch and Vesper Meadow, Agate desert, Whetstone savanna, and a float on the Rogue River. Wrapping up on Friday June 23rd at TouVelle State Recreation Site, the course ends with a family picnic where the participants will share their projects.


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