US College Students Get Chance to Meet Brazilian Amazon Up Close

WWF's headquarters in Corumbá, Brazil American students from several US states have been selected to study conservation in the United States and Brazil through an environmental leadership program developed by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and sponsored by Nissan North America (NNA).

Now in its second year, the Nissan-WWF Environmental Leadership Program provides student leaders the opportunity to examine environmental issues and become effective advocates for conservation.

The program is part of a US$ 1 million partnership between NNA and WWF, which will also help support WWF field conservation projects in the United States and Brazil.

Each award winner receives a US$ 5,000 cash prize and will participate in an Environmental Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. and Nashville, Tennessee, and a research expedition in Brazil. The award recipients represent a diverse range of backgrounds and were selected based on their demonstrated leadership, academic achievement, and commitment to the environment.

"This is an opportunity for students to experience many different sides of conservation, from on-the-ground field work to policy-making to corporate environmental stewardship," said Dominique Thormann, NNA senior vice-president finance & administration.

"We are proud to support WWF's conservation work for the second year, and to hopefully inspire a new, diverse group of future environmental leaders."

Each winner will be invited to attend an Environmental Leadership Summit in Washington and Nashville, June 18-23.

The first part of the Summit will take place in the nation's capital, where the students will learn about conservation and environmental policymaking.

They will visit institutions like the Environmental Protection Agency, the World Bank and Capitol Hill, and participate in personal development seminars and cross-cultural training activities to help prepare them for leadership roles in the global community.

In Nashville, they will participate in volunteer activities, learn about clean technology and tour a Nissan manufacturing facility. The students will also learn about Nissan's Green Program 2010, which focuses on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, minimizing exhaust emissions and accelerating recycling efforts.

The students will take a two-week field trip to Brazil in August, where they will work side-by-side with local conservation scientists, explore the Amazon rainforest by boat and participate in local cultural activities. Carbon emissions from all program air travel, the organizers say, will be offset by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

"Last year, students commented on the enormous impact this program had on their personal and professional lives. For many, it was instrumental in shaping their understanding and awareness of environmental issues," said Shaun Martin, WWF director of conservation leadership programs.

"We're pleased the program will continue this year and are eager to be the vehicle for a new group of talented youth to learn about these important issues. We're confident they will make real contributions to conservation in the future."

As part of its US$ 1 million grant, Nissan will support WWF conservation programs in the United States and Brazil. In the United States, Nissan will continue to support WWF's Southeastern Rivers and Streams Support Fund, which awards grants for grassroots projects to clean up polluted watersheds in Tennessee and Alabama.

In Brazil, the donation will help fund regional conservation work in the Brazilian Amazon, which is plagued by illegal logging, slash-and-burn agriculture and other human impacts.

Nissan and WWF first launched the Environmental Leadership Program in 2006. Last year's student winners received a US$ 5,000 prize, attended a four-day Environmental Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., and traveled to South Africa for a two-week research expedition.

For more than 45 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature.  The largest multinational conservation organization in the world, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. 

WWF's unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level, from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.

These are the selected students who will participate in the 2007 Nissan-WWF Environmental Leadership Program: Kali Albright, Stanford University; Erin Allen, University of Michigan; Erin Byers, University of Tennessee; Robyn Chaplin, University of Tennessee; Chris Detjen, University of Michigan; Desirae Early, University of California – Berkeley; Monique Fahie, Alcorn State University; Gregory Johnson, Tougaloo College; Gregory Lee, Stanford University; Nicole Leung, University of Texas – Austin; Andrew Maggetti, Wayne State University; Ngo Ky, University of California – Berkeley; Tremaine Larel Philips, Michigan Sate University; Clinton Sands, Fisk University; Anne Mariah Tapp, University of Texas – Austin; Morgan Weldon, University of Mississippi.

Service:

Nissan-WWF Environmental Leadership Program -  www.worldwildlife.org/nissanleaders

WWF – www.worldwildlife.org

 

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