HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (Feb. 23, 2016) – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has chosen 15 motivated, inspirational individuals to serve on its new Next Generation Advisory Council, a diverse group of leaders ages 18 to 28 who will encourage their peers to become involved in the management, preservation and stewardship of the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail (A.T.). The ATC is dedicated to involving millennials and seeking input from this generation to explore effective methods of advocacy, conservation, and the creation of stewardship ethics.
“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is thrilled to have this group of young, innovative and creative leaders as part of our governance structure to provide relevant input and guidance,” said the ATC’s Director of Education and Outreach Julie Judkins. “We have high hopes that this council will help us design programs and policies that will encourage membership, advocacy and leadership from a younger and more culturally diverse population.”
Next Generation Advisory Council members will join an organization that has worked cooperatively for more than 90 years with land managers and agencies, nonprofits, communities, and thousands of volunteers. Professional development includes the opportunity to learn from the ATC’s staff, as well as members of the ATC’s Stewardship Council, Regional Partnership Committees, 31 Trail Maintaining Clubs, leaders in designated A.T. Communities, and the National Park Service and other agency partners.
The first task of the council is to define its governance and roles, ensuring all members are fully empowered in their work and as investors of the A.T. From there, the council will work to find pathways to increase youth involvement within the ATC and on the Trail; provide opportunities for youth to conduct Trail maintenance; advise and inform the ATC on partnership opportunities to encourage diversity within the Trail community; and be ambassadors and leaders for A.T. stewardship in members’ respective communities. Council members will also take part in a training and orientation workshop in May.
“I feel that everyone, regardless of who they are, should have access to the wonders of nature,” said Olympia Bowker, a Next Generation Advisory Council member. “There is an ever-widening rift between humans and nature, and this rift creates passivity and apathy for decisions affecting the environment. The Appalachian Trail is a priceless resource that can bridge that rift. The Trail is 2,190 miles of opportunity—it is important for it to be diverse so there is no limit on who or how many people foster a connection to it.”
In addition to Bowker, other Next Generation Advisory Council members include Oforiwaa Lee Agyei-Boakye, Grace Anderson, Alivia Acosta, Brady Adcock, Kayla Carter, Stephen Eren, Hamlet Fort, Kelly Garvy, Evan Liddy, Marcela Maldonado, Kristin Murphy, Tony Richardson, Adam Stewart and Allie Thompson. For more information about these young leaders, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/leadership.
About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park System, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,190 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information, please visit www.appalachiantrail.org.
Contact: Javier Folgar
Appalachian Trail Conservancy