Educating and training the next generation of conservation decision-makers is an all important goal of Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve. We take on this mission recalling how our Native Haudenosaunee Iroquois and Mohawk elders have urged all people “to consider always the 7th generation in all that you do.” This was especially true for how people should be vigilant stewards of the land; especially wild nature as it was considered a gift to all peoples by the Creator – and in the face of those young people springing up from the Earth in to the long future ahead.
This is a task we do not take lightly. We recall fondly Paul’s Schaefer’s admonition: that our conservation work was to benefit the “Youth of Distant Tomorrows.” We serve that purpose when we bring on board, inspire, educate and train today’s college and university level students in the work, purposes and values of our “forever wild” Forest Preserve history, and provide them the background they need to do their part to help protect the Adirondack Park. We are commited to recruit next generation leadership for wild places.
Thus, we offer Wildland Stewardship Training - experiential training for youth, students and citizens of all ages. This program is part of our Educating for the Wild program offerings and works with universities, colleges and advancement place high school programs from the North Country and statewide.
Dan Plumley presenting and offering insight "In the classroom" at Pace Law School. Photo © Ken Rimany
To inspire, educate and train career-track college and university students, as well as other interested groups, in:
- wilderness advocacy
- education and conservation of the Adirondack and Catskill Parks
We work on site in college, university, graduate and other settings, designing training programs which fit the educational goals of the group, and which seeks to combine the history and structure of wild land protection and stewardship in the Park with case studies for active involvement in real-world conservation or stewardship activity. The training can easily integrate with the host class curriculum in, for example, natural resource management or outdoor education.
Typically, training focuses on the state’s wild land and resource laws under the NYS Constitution, Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan, State Land Master Plans and more, as well as challenges and opportunities the Park creates regionally, nationally and as a global model for the park's state and private land zoning framework. It’s a complex park and a diverse, rich history that demands interpretation based on experience.
- Tier I – Basic Citizen’s Activist Training
- Participants begin with a basic level of citizen activist training, which can be a half-day overview of the Adirondack Park, New York State Forest Preserve, conservation history and current challenges and opportunities.
- Tier II – Wild Land Policy Stewardship Training
- Those who wish to continue to the next level receive additional classroom day(s) of training, followed by in-Park, practical experience.
- Participants receive greater background in:
- wilderness history
- planning and stewardship
- and choose an issue or case study to work on
Related field trips may involve a short wilderness experience utilizing sections of the Forest Preserve or lands under conservation easement. In this tier, collaboration may be sought with partnering agencies like the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Student Conservation Association.
- Tier III - Wild Experiential Training and Recognition
Certificate Recognition is awarded to those students and citizens that successfully complete the Tier 3 training and experience in supporting key park conservation efforts, and upon recommendation of the training team.
- Stewards continuing are encouraged to enroll as volunteers or interns with Adirondack Wild or partnering agencies for a period of months.
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