Environmental education programs and clubs are critical for raising awareness for environmental issues in a community. Small grass-root organizations of committed people working for change is truly how things get done. Or, put more eloquently by Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Communities need organizations for different social causes, and the environment is no exception. If you are passionate about the environment and conservation, consider volunteering or creating project initiatives in your community.
Volunteering is a great way to get started. Find a local organization where you can volunteer and learn more about environmental issues. The Chattahoochee Nature Center is a great place to start if you live in the greater Atlanta area! Find an issue that you are passionate about and want to do something about. It may be educating people about the environment, removing harmful invasive species, or working to slow the effects of climate change. There are so many, many diverse problems that need solving.
School clubs and programs are an amazing way to get younger generations aware and involved with environmental problems. Initiatives are already in place in many schools in the Atlanta area. If there isn’t a program at your school or in your community, consider starting your own.
For example, student Kelsey Hall started the LEAP (Leaders for Environmental Awareness and Protection) Club at King’s Ridge High School in Alpharetta. Kelsey is passionate about the environment, and currently is an intern at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. After attending a summer program geared towards students interested in environmental-related careers the summer before her junior year, she decided to bring some of what she learned at the program to her school. Once she got full support from the school to start the club, the KR LEAP Club got over 35 involved members, and hit the ground running.
The club’s first project included fundraising for and installing electric vehicle chargers in the parking lot, making King’s Ridge the first high school in North Fulton to do so. After the first project completion, LEAP was awarded a Georgia Independent School grant to purchase two indoor hydroponic gardens to plant and manage with an environmental science class.
The club has been a success at King’s Ridge, and Kelsey hopes the increased environmental awareness at KR will be her legacy to the school.
“Everyone has something they are passionate about, and it’s so important to pursue that passion,” said Kelsey. “I was afraid no one would join LEAP, but after telling people about what I wanted to do and why, they were totally on board. People are excited about other people that are passionate about things. Don’t be afraid to pursue your passions and change the world!”
No matter how daunting of a task it may seem, go after your passions and change the world, one step at a time. Massive change starts small, and your own community is the best place to start!
The Mission of the Chattahoochee Nature Center is to connect people with nature. Learn more at www.chattnaturecenter.org.