The New Youth Engagement Program Is Up and Running!

The new Youth Engagement Program (YEP) is up and running at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory!  Throughout the 2016 – 2017 school year, program participants will grow as a team and work together to create positive change within their communities.  The young people will design and implement conservation-based projects with the support of Como staff and community mentors.

In August, a group of YEP participants attended a retreat at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center to being the team building process.  It was a great experience for everyone!  The youth worked together to share their perspective with you.  Enjoy!

Youth Blog:

We can all agree that we’d never seen stars brighter than that in our lives. Our time at Eagle Bluff forced us out of our comfort zones with challenges like night hikes and rainstorms. We were introduced not only to new aspects of the natural world that surrounds us, but also to our new group of peers.

Though our group was small, its intimacy ultimately allowed for more organic conversation, and connection on a deeper level. We came to know and appreciate each others’ differing strengths, and began to anticipate their roles in the projects to come.

In discussions focusing on global distribution of wealth and resources, we were reminded of just how daunting these global issues can be. Poverty, unavailability of heath care and education – these are concepts and realities that are often barely tangible not only to people our age, but to vast populations that are not directly affected.

Environmental awareness and action feels, at times, like an utter impossibility.

As we work to bridge the gap between communities and their natural environment, we hope that a new appreciation for local wildlife can be reached, and will result in the beginnings of eco-friendly changes.

Though we are starting small, we know that small actions can, in fact, lead to change.

From as small as the waste reduction strategies we learned at Eagle Bluff, we will make change. The small group of us at Eagle Bluff can’t wait to meet and start working with the rest of our team, as well as our communities.

Special thanks to Como Friends, Emily and the Eagle Bluff staff, and to our amazing leaders Steph and Jessie- thank you for making Y.E.P. possible!!

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hiking

A late-night rain storm provided the perfect opportunity to see which forest critters shared our path before our hike.  The retreat at Eagle Bluff allowed YEP participants to hone their observational skills creating a deeper connection to the natural world.

nordic-skiing

Eagle Bluff staff facilitated a variety of group challenges for our group.  Here, our team works together to “ski” as one unit.  Team building opportunities like this foster communication, creativity, and self-confidence as each member contributes their strengths for the greater good of the group.

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