Isabel Abrahms of Chicago asked the International Environmental Reporting panel about funding for science and environmental education for young people. “I see optimistic stories out there,” she said. The Pulitzer Center has a program that brings a documentary film producer into the classroom for six weeks to work with students. Global Gateway brings journalists into classrooms.
After the session, I connected with Lynne Cherry, who will lead a session Saturday morning on "Kids These Days…Looking Out for Their Own Future." She has produced Young Voices for the Planet, a film series for schools. One of the students she features, Sean Russell, developed a simple way to reduce discarded fish nets after freeing a dolphin that was entangled in monofilament netting. He’ll be at the session to talk abut his project.
At the opening night dinner, Carl Hiaasen said he's amazed at the level of sophistication, energy and optimism kids have at age 11 or 12, far more than he had at that age. He observes that they relate to their experiences at a specific place, as his did. His children’s book, Hoot, grew out of his desire to write a better ending to the story of burrowing owls than the one he witnessed: their burrows were paved over.
Several of the Cousteau family members told of their work with young people. Kids recognize that they are the ones who will have to clean up the Deep Horizon oil spill.
Celine Cousteau showed video of freeing a humpback whale entangled in fishing net. She and her team encountered the whale when they were filming for her Cause-Centric Productions. “We need to empower our readers to take action,” she said.
That theme rang through the events of this first day of the conference, that young people are engaged and involved. What a great start!