In September, 2019, TFN provided full scholarships for five GTA high school students to attend Ontario Nature’s annual Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Leadership at Geneva Park on Lake Couchiching. From September 20-22 some 102 students from 70 communities across the province participated in a wealth of activities and workshops addressing diverse environmental matters such as biodiversity, climate change, traditional environmental teachings, and career opportunities in conservation, as well as discovering nature. We’ll let the words of the youth we sponsored speak to the impact the summit had on them:
“Saturday morning I was up early to help lead the morning birding hike. We came across a big patch of Jewelweed that had water beading on the leaves and it looked beautiful in the early morning sun so we spent a fair time getting the best shots of the plants we could. We lead the group to the pond where there was some waterfowl hanging out, nothing much was going on but the scenery was amazing, the water was like glass and the mist was still rising off it so we all took it in for a while. On the walk back we spotted lots of Black-Capped Chickadees in the trees above us and we chatted amongst ourselves. I learned so much from the other nature lovers …”— Cecilia La Rose
“I was really inspired to do more in my daily life and at my school to raise awareness about environmental issues. One of my goals is to teach others about what they can do, since I know many people who, if made aware, would take actions to help the environment.”— Nina Nissim-Stem
“Through my involvement in the event I was able to gain a new network of like minded peers, learn from wise experts and motivate myself to create impactful change.”— Serena Poonawalla
“Whether it is getting involved directly, or learning about new ways to engage others, I believe that we have big potential if we are all willing to put in the effort required to make a big change in our communities … Thank you for sponsoring my trip at the 2019 Ontario Nature Youth Council Youth Summit – It was an absolutely life changing experience! In the 3 days that I was there, I learned a lot, and made lifelong friends.”— Grace Gong
“…I was inspired to take action in my region of Toronto. Scarborough does not have a lot of people fighting for climate justice currently. I was able to start “Climate Strike Scarbrough” and “Fridays for Future Scarborough”, where we draw awareness and demand climate action. I was also inspired to take on grassroots projects in my area, that help educate and create climate justice catalysts in Scarborough. This includes Climate Action Scarborough, where our first project is to host a Climate Conference, filled with workshops and guest speakers.”— Delenn Kershaw
TFN’s sponsorship touched the lives of a few promising students who will, in turn, touch the lives of others. To learn more, please check out the summary report provided to us by Ontario Nature, which includes the personal letters from the students we sponsored describing the impact the weekend had on them.