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Sierra Club gears up for 9/11 - Building Bridges Blog

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Mission Outdoors


Sierra Club gears up for 9/11

by Steve Bert, Youth Intern

On Saturday, June 19, The Sierra Club announced its national call to “Serve Outdoors.”  Through its youth programs, the Sierra Club will be calling on its members, volunteers, and staff to demonstrate outdoor volunteerism and service on America’s National Day of Service and Remembrance, September 11, as a way to honor those who defend and protect our country, communities, and great outdoors spaces everyday.

High School for Environmental Studies hosted the kickoff event and became the first partner in this youth-led initiative that will engage students in environmental service projects nationwide. For their first task, the Manhattan based students aim to create a different resonation to the memory of September 11, by using 9/11 to kick-off an environmental service project that will benefit the city of New York.

“We’re all going to go through tragedy…It’s part of what it means to be human. It’s how we respond to tragedy that really defines who we are,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. Brune was one of over 40 representatives of the Sierra Club, Natural Leaders Network, faculty, staff and students of the School for Environmental Studies who convened at the high school’s rooftop garden for the launch of “Serve Outdoors” Saturday.

“I want to thank the Sierra Club for giving me a chance to be part of this historic moment,” said Junior Jessica Gutierrez, who spoke on behalf of the student body to celebrate the launch. “One little drop of help will drizzle into much more,” she said.

Serve Outdoors will generate, develop, and coordinate hands-on outdoor service projects on September 11, 2010, as a way to cultivate a powerful culture of volunteerism within the Millennial Generation.


Founded on excellence

Since the high school’s inception in 1992, as the first themed high school in the nation to address urban environmental education, it has become a hotbed for far-reaching environmental projects and programs. Freshman take part in educational trips to Central Park, sophomores begin environmental internships, receiving credit for completing 100 hours of internship service over a period of eight months, and juniors and seniors engage in research and other projects aligning with their personal areas of interest.

At the moment, four students are preparing for the Toshiba Youth Conference in Japan to learn resource and energy management from the world’s recycling guru, 380 students will start internships in the fall ranging from park conservation to the greening of Disney and all 1,387 students will do their part to redefine history this upcoming September 11. As such, the High School for Environmental Studies is a natural partner in the development of the Serve Outdoors project.

 “Youth are not the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today,” said Martin LeBlanc, Sierra Club’s Building Bridges to the Outdoors National Youth Education Director, who spoke at the high school Saturday.

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