CONTACT:
Audra Bucklin, Kimball Union Academy, 603-469-2109      
Judy Silverberg, NHFG, 603-271-3211               
June 5, 2009

Calling New Hampshire Youth to Become NH Natural Leaders
Apply for Your Scholarship Today for Summer Session July 19-August 1, 2009!

CONCORD, N.H. -- Registration is now open for a new environmental leadership program for youth between the ages of 13-17, sponsored by the NH Children and Nature Coalition and Kimball Union Academy's EE Just Environmental Leadership Institute. The program starts this summer with a two-week residential experience in which youth get to work directly with scientists, as well as canoe, camp and hike; involvement will continue through the school year. Called NH Natural Leaders, the program seeks applications from New Hampshire youth who are interested in the environment and active in their community, and who want to further their knowledge and skills through active outdoor engagement in recreational and educational pursuits.

"One of the early experiences I had that put me on a path to becoming an environmental leader was attending a youth conservation camp.  That intensive program helped inspire me to choose a career in the environment.  We have high hopes that the NH Natural Leaders program will inspire youth of today to see themselves as lifetime stewards of the environment and to learn important community leadership skills," said Tom Burack, Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

The residential portion of the program will run from July 19 - August 1, 2009.  Participants will work with scientists and other environmental professionals as they travel to a variety of locations in the state, including the Mt. Washington Observatory, Hubbard Brook Experimental Station, Harris Center for Conservation Education and the Great Bay Discovery Center. Youth will canoe, camp and hike as they explore and increase their knowledge about New Hampshire's natural resources. 

There is a fee for the summer residential session. New Hampshire residents can apply for scholarships to reduce the cost of the program to as little as $500 for full tuition, (including room and board) for the two weeks. The program is open to kids from around the world for $2,200 and discounted for N.H. residents at a rate of $1,500 (before scholarship savings). The Natural Leaders program is committed to equal opportunity for all youth. To apply, visit www.kua.org (click on summer programs, then "In Action -- Environmental Leadership"; be sure to use the N.H. resident discount code when applying), call 603-469-2109 or email summer@kua.org.

The two-week summer program will launch the Natural Leaders into a variety of recreational and educational opportunities to pursue throughout the year.  Participants will be encouraged to do work on a capstone project in their community around an environmental and conservation theme.

New Hampshire's conservation community is enthusiastic about the potential of the Natural Leaders program.  A sampling of comments:

"It's exciting to see this program get off the ground; it is an excellent opportunity for youth to learn new skills and be an active part of the conservation community." -- Glenn Normandeau, Executive Director of the N.H. Fish and Game Department.

"The NH Natural Leaders program is a great example of how combining resources from many different sectors allows us to actively engage youth in healthy, outdoor learning activities." -- Neal McIntyre, program director of the EE Just Environmental Leadership Institute.

"We believe it is important for our youth to learn about our environment and how to conserve it." -- Audra Bucklin, Kimball Union Academy summer programs director.

The NH Natural Leaders Program is a project of the NH Children in Nature Coalition and the national Children and Nature Network.  The coalition has membership of over fifty New Hampshire organizations and several hundred individuals.  Partners include the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, UNH Cooperative Extension, the Appalachian Mountain Club, The Harris Center for conservation Education, New Hampshire Student Conservation Association, Healthy NH Foundation, New Hampshire Audubon and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.  Visit www.wildlife.state.nh.us/ChildrenInNature/index.htm.

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