Environmental conservation programs are not just for adults. There are plenty of programs nowadays that allow children to learn about nature and make a difference at the same time. This is a particularly valuable form of education for kids and teens because it gives them a chance to learn about the kind of work that goes into conservation. Parents should encourage their children to take part in any youth conservation campaigns. The experience isn’t only fun, but also meaningful. They will learn to love nature, find the inspiration to protect nature, and develop an appreciation for the conservationists’ work.
The Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is one of the oldest and most successful conservation groups in the United States, with a legacy that dates back to 1892. The club believes that one of the best ways to protect nature is to encourage people to value it. Among the events that The Sierra Club organizes are hiking, climbing, and other activities in the wilderness.
The Sierra Club is highly interested in public outreach. They design events that are both engaging and pleasurable for adults, teenagers, and kids. The hiking activity, for example, is combined with lectures about the local wilderness. Participating in this kind of activity can inspire children to take part in other youth conservation campaigns which help increase environmental awareness.
The Sierra Club is broken up into many small, local chapters. To inquire about upcoming events for kids and teens, reach out to the nearest branch of the organization. They usually offer several different activities that are appropriate for various ages.
- Nature hikes are popular because they don’t require much exercise, and they offer an excellent pace for looking at nature.
- Climbing activity is a more grueling type of exercise, and not every club has access to good climbing spots.
Ocean Guardian Classrooms
Sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Ocean Guardian Classroom program is created to promote nature conservations in schools. The world’s water supply is essential to humanity’s future, but most people only think about water when they see it coming out of a faucet. That creates a false impression that there is plenty of clean water, so people don’t think about water conservation as often as they should. This program will help kids realize that water is necessary and that it isn’t always as readily available as it may seem.
There are a few options for starting their kids with this program:
- Parents can choose an activity from the organization’s activity book, print it, and let the kids work on it.
- Schools can organize field trips to certified classrooms all over the country that offer more in-depth training.
Most zoos and wildlife sanctuaries are intimately tied to wildlife conservation efforts. Their conservation programs tend to be small and local, but that doesn’t reduce their value as an educational tool. Young children get to see the animals and at the same time learn valuable information about them.
Many zoos and sanctuaries offer volunteer programs. Other programs involve training sessions that prepare participants for more advanced roles. These programs give kids and teens an opportunity to get hands-on experience in a safe and convenient way. Some of the skills they’ll learn will also prove useful in everyday life. Here are some places to check for volunteer programs:
- Large zoos. Even if they don’t offer programs of their own, they can often direct people to groups that accept volunteers.
- Animal sanctuaries are unlikely to allow volunteers to work with endangered or rare species, but administrative work is often available.
- Botanical gardens. Plant conservation gets less publicity than animal protection, but it’s just as important.
Outdoor supply stores often act as hubs for the local community of nature lovers, which make them a great place to look for local conservation programs. Many of them have employees who are familiar with local trails that need to be maintained by volunteers, or other programs that are open to the public. While very few of them will run any of these programs on their own, an endorsement from a local store is an excellent sign that the programs are reputable and deserve help from the public. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when making an inquiry:
- These stores typically focus on climbing, hiking, and camping. They’ll have more information about programs that maintain access to nature for human use than keeping it as unspoiled wilderness.
- Remember that these stores are businesses, and they need to make money. Try to buy something when asking for information, and don’t take up too much time if there are other shoppers in the store.
Choosing a Program
The best way for kids, teens, and even adults to learn about anything is to get involved with it. Conservation is no exception to that rule. Pick a program that’s appropriate for your kid’s age and one that matches the child’s interests. Your child is unlikely to get bored if the selected program allows him/her to get involved, instead of being just a spectator.