TogetherGreen last week announced its 2010 fellows, a group of 40 environmentalists from 34 cities in 22 states, the third class in a five-year partnership between Audubon and Toyota. Each fellow—15 of which come from Audubon, 25 from organizations across the country—receives $10,000, plus training and help setting up a conservation project.
Part of the program’s mission is to fund innovative programs and set in motion tomorrow’s environmental leaders. Here’s a look at a few of those eco-stars:
Christina Nesset, of Durango, Colorado, executive director of Southwest Conservation Corp., has a vision: In an area where poverty and school dropouts are all too common, she plans to give teens an important role cleaning up the nearby Animas River. Her TogetherGreen Fellowship project, for teens 12 to 15, will run during the summer of 2011.” This fellowship provides me with the uncommon opportunity to combine my Conservation Corps’ experience with my passion for rivers,” Nesset says. “I see it as an investment in the future.”
Another fellow, Jenga Mwendo, is also investing in the future—of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, a place hit hard by hurricanes and poverty, and where there’s currently no grocery store. Mwendo, founder of the Backyard Gardener’s Network, is bringing sustainable, healthy food to the neighborhood through a community garden. She spearheaded the planting of 150 trees and transformed an old blacktop into a green space for the Ninth Ward.
Finally (of the three we’re profiling), there’s Nicole Conrad, a naturalist at the Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm in Ohio. Her fellowship project includes expanding the Avian Art Contest she began back in 2005, something in which 8,000 students have so far participated. To do so, she’ll combine it with conservation efforts like habitat restoration, as well as more artwork. “This fellowship allows me to share conservation messages with youngsters and provide hands-on opportunities for these same youngsters,” Conrad says. “I’m very excited about receiving it.”
For profiles of the other 37 fellows, or for more information about TogetherGreen, visit togethergreen.org.