Jackson, WY (October 6, 2017)—SHIFT’s Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), which trains a culturally diverse cohort of young outdoor recreationists to revitalize and lead America’s public land conservation movement, is entering the homestretch of its vital Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. With just five days to go until the campaign closes on October 10, this is the final opportunity to support a diverse group of young men and women in their efforts to revitalize the American conservation movement.
The ELP, a critical program of SHIFT’s 3-day annual festival taking place Nov. 1-3 in Jackson, Wyo., is traditionally supported by federal grants. However, in the spring of 2017, the $25,000 in federal-agency funding that had been earmarked for ELP scholarship funds was paused due to federal budget cuts. The objective of the Indiegogo campaign is to raise enough money to cover the loss of federal funding.
“This year’s class of Emerging Leaders embodies our goal at SHIFT,” said Christian Beckwith, director of SHIFT. “That is, to foster a coalition of Americans that represents all cultures, experiences and perspectives, and empower them to elevate their voices and passion for outdoor recreation and commitment to protect public land.”
“The ELP crowdfunding campaign ensures that any prospective applicant, regardless of financial need, can benefit from the program," said Beckwith.
Lack of diversity is the Achilles heel of outdoor recreation and public land conservation. America’s hunting and angling communities, which are overwhelmingly Caucasian, have long carried the country’s conservation work on their backs via the estimated $750M in taxes they pay annually. If the efforts to protect America’s lands, waters and wildlife continue to be led by this group, as they have been historically, it will not be enough to support their health and well-being for future generations.
The ELP strives to empower the next generation of conservation leaders, and increase the diversity of outdoor recreationists and public land advocates to adequately represent the diverse communities across America. The program, in coordination with the Teton Science Schools, gives emerging leaders exposure and experience at the SHIFT festival, instruction on how to lead conversations around conservation, tools and skills to engage in discussions critical to protecting public lands, and models that allow them to share their experience with their communities.
The Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign was started by alumni of the 2016 ELP, who unanimously agree on the importance of the ELP in helping empower them to bring the conservation movement to their communities.
Leandra Taylor, a coordinator for the Merge Coalition in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a participant of the 2016 ELP at SHIFT, benefited from the ELP and encourages support for the 2017 group of participants.
“The Emerging Leaders Program needs your support,” said Taylor. “It provides developing leaders like me the opportunity to challenge themselves with new conversations, with people from across the nation, from different perspectives and experiences. And it creates a space for young people to find a supporting family of peers and mentors.
“As young stewards breaking into the conservation world, we’re so grateful for having had the opportunity to experience the ELP. Your contribution to the program will help insure the next generation of leaders protecting America’s public lands represents our country in all its diversity.”
As the Indiegogo campaign wraps up, no contribution is too small. Every contribution to the program will help young advocates attend SHIFT and grow into future leaders invested in public lands for future generations to enjoy. Donate to the campaign here today.
SHIFT (Shaping How we Invest For Tomorrow) is an annual festival that explores issues at the intersection of conservation, outdoor recreation and cultural relevancy. It is a project of The Center for Jackson Hole, whose mission is to strengthen the coalition of interests devoted to our public lands. Join the SHIFT movement! Sign up for our community at SHIFTjh.org, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
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