2016 Outstanding Youth Environmental Leadership Award

Angel Bujanda, Samuel Frykholm, Joseph Koch, Samantha Montes, Brayhan Reveles, and Yesenia Martinez

Get Outdoors Leadville Youth Research Team


The Get Outdoors Leadville (GOL!) Youth Research Team demonstrated exceptional environmental leadership. Angel Bujanda, Samuel Frykholm, Joe Koch, Samantha Montes, Brayhan Reveles, and Yesenia Martinez worked together as researchers, steering committee members on the local GOCO Inspire community coalition, and members of community action teams. As part of our local Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Inspire Coalition, they used their unique talents and skills to answer the research the question: “How do we connect youth in our community to nature?” The bilingual youth research team (YRT) conducted a participatory action research (PAR) project to understand how places, programs, career pathways and a coordinating hub could increase youth access to nature. The team met several times each week from February-May 2016 during school, after school and on weekends to complete their research. They presented their research to a community coalition in May. Then from June- September 2016, they served as youth representatives on community action teams to transform the way our community connects with the outdoors and develops environmental awareness, appreciation, and literacy. The YRT’s leadership generated a culturally responsive and respectful frame for the community coalition. They were true believers in the power of nature to heal, inspire and teach. The team considered access to nature a “social leveler” and advocated for equitable access for all youth and families in Lake County. Their research provided evidence that youth desired more opportunities to be in nature, inspiring a thoughtful dialogue in our community to tackle fundamental barriers to access.

CAEE works to ensure everyone in Colorado has an opportunity to learn about the environment where they live. We value inclusiveness and welcome everyone to the field of environmental education.

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