In partnership with the Fund II Foundation, Audubon is providing high school and college students of color with opportunities to engage with nature, build careers in conservation, and introduce urban community members to the healing power of the outdoors. The Fellows receive training and networking opportunities to help them discover ways to make a difference, ranging from nonprofit leadership to advocacy and hands-on conservation. They are mentored by alumni of Audubon’s TogetherGreen program, a network of 500+ diverse conservation leaders stretching across the country.
By year-end, Audubon will have provided 56 fellowships and touched more than 5,000 children and adults in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago, Texas and Connecticut. Together, Fund II and Audubon are changing the lives of young people, such as:
Darrea Frazier of Baltimore, who introduced underserved kids to nature in the city’s Patterson Park. She recalls: I’ve gained a lot of skills. I’ve been able to really get out of my comfort zone and lead programs. I’m more independent now. I’ve learned a lot about nature and myself…I could make a really long list about how much I’ve learned on this job.
Marcus Cole of Dallas, who discovered a new career path in environmental education: I love working with kids, but even more I love working with nature and this was a great way to bring those two together…I couldn’t imagine being in this position if I didn’t have this opportunity through Fund II.
Miguel Cruz of Los Angeles, who has developed a new appreciation of how urban parks improve lives and the environment: I am seeing how the work that we’re putting in here is making a difference. We are contributing to making Debs Park a better place – the plants and the birds and the people all benefit from that.
Audubon and Fund II are committed to engaging young people of color in conservation, because they must be the voice for the environment in the 21st century. Today’s conservation movement doesn’t look like America – and that must change if we are to succeed in protecting the clean air, clean water, and open spaces that support health and happiness. The Fund II Fellows are more than two-thirds African-American and Latino/Hispanic and the communities they serve mirror their backgrounds. With the full support of our board, staff and partners like Fund II, Audubon is committed to creating a more diverse, inclusive and powerful constituency for conservation.