The Apprentice Ecologist Initiative (officially recognized by the U.S. EPA) has engaged tens of thousands of young volunteers (kids, teens, and college-age youth) from around the world in environmental cleanup and conservation projects since 1999. This program has received multiple awards from the City of Albuquerque, a "Best Community Impact" award from Eastern Kentucky University, and is featured on thousands of web sites. View recent Apprentice Ecologist Projects and past Apprentice Ecologist Awards to get ideas for your own environmental stewardship project.
The goals of the Apprentice Ecologist Initiative are to:
- Elevate youth into leadership roles by engaging them in environmental cleanup and conservation projects,
- Empower young people to rebuild the environmental and social well-being of our communities,
- Improve local living conditions for both citizens and wildlife through education, activism, and action.
Here's how to become an official Apprentice Ecologist and be considered for a scholarship:
- Conduct your own environmental stewardship project in 2023 .
- Take a few digital photos of your project in action.
- Write an essay about your project and what it meant to you.
- Register and upload your favorite project photo along with your essay.
Examples of projects that other Apprentice Ecologists have completed in the past include:
- Removing and recycling trash from a local park, river, beach, or other natural area
- Planting native trees at a school, local park, or in a deforested area
- Starting a community or school recycling/composting program
- Protecting a terrestrial or aquatic area for native wildlife
- Promoting the conservation of an endangered species or area
- Educating others about wildlife or conservation issues
- Removing graffiti from natural areas
- Taking steps to prevent pollution/contamination locally
- Removing nonnative vegetation so that native vegetation can flourish
- Improving awareness about the importance of using renewable energy sources
- Reducing soil erosion by maintaining established trails and closing off short-cuts
- Assisting the elderly with their yards by planting/maintaining vegetation that provides native wildlife habitat
- Building a rain garden that utilizes roof runoff to grow vegetation that provides native wildlife habitat
After uploading your project photo and essay, we will publish your work on our Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists and provide links to download an official Apprentice Ecologist heat transfer (for t-shirt). Please only upload an image that you took or one that you have permission to post (this avoids copyright problems). If you do not have a project photo, simply upload the NWP logo image along with your essay. An NWP t-shirt or tote bag will be awarded to the authors of the five best essays on an annual basis. School and community groups, especially those working with at-risk and disadvantaged youth, are highly encouraged to participate.
Three scholarships (totaling $1,750) will be awarded annually to the authors of the three best Apprentice Ecologist essays.
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