Young Conservationists


For the past year GTECH has been collaborating with the Student Conservation Association (SCA), Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (PPC), and Venture Outdoors (VO) to develop the Young Conservationist learning pathway. All of our organizations work with youth in the outdoors, but we bring different lenses to our work and focus on different aspects of outdoor learning. By combining our high-school-age offerings into a playlist, we are offering a diversity of related learning experiences as well as providing social support to learners as they navigate the pathway.

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s High School Urban EcoStewards program offers a starting point and ensures that the playlist opportunities are available to a broad range of students in Pittsburgh Public and other area schools. SCA’s Conservation Leadership Corps program provides the fundamental knowledge and experiences that prepare students to do substantive outdoor conservation work. Venture Outdoors and GTECH provide both digital and local learning experiences that will be woven into both High School Urban EcoStewards (HSUES) and the Conservation Leadership Corps and also offered as outside activities for interested students. Students who engage with a number of additional learning experiences on the playlist can earn a Young Conservationist badge that unlocks two opportunities, one national and one local: a scholarship to be on an SCA National Summer crew or the opportunity to serve as a summer intern for one of the other three organizations.

GTECH will provide two XPs, one Local and one digital, based around and embedded in HSUES and CLC programming:

  1. Local XP: Community Builder – Students built custom benches using simple tools like handsaws and power drills, and crafted wooly planter pockets out of felt shipping blankets, to be installed on site at a GTECH project this summer.
  2. Digital XP: Lots to Map – Students will learn how to use Lots to Love database to explore Pittsburgh Greenspace and propose a conservation project on a vacant lot. This will cap off HSUES Session 3, during which the Parks Conservancy and GTECH will walk through Oakland with the students, exploring urban systems and encouraging them to see nature all over the city, not just in parks.