Engaging Young Adults in a Sustainable Future: Strategies for National Parks and Other Special Places

NPS Stewardship Institute

Updated Stewardship Institute


The purpose of this project was to inform the National Park Foundation’s (NPF) program development strategy for engaging young adults age 18 to 25 in environmental sustainability through collaboration with national parks and their partners and communities. This project positions the NPF to capitalize on research- and experienced-based knowledge about engaging young adults in the design of new initiatives. Program development for this key age group is an essential part of the NPF’s overall strategy of engaging the full spectrum of youth audiences.

Charette participants explored the context surrounding this program design initiative, looked broadly at existing knowledge and data, and used the expertise gathered in the room to filter and focus the range of strategic options facing NPF. By the end of the six-hour conversation, the group converged with a fairly clear consensus on a set of key guiding principles for NPF to consider as it continues exploring potential next steps. These guiding principles could attract partners, funders, and/or grantees with promising and innovative program designs that embody the best practices identified through this evaluation.

What You’ll Find

This overview synthesizes the current state of knowledge about six design components:

  • Involve youth in real world challenges
  • Ensure a diversity of participants and perspectives
  • Invite and value youth input with and among community organizations, citizens and youth
  • Routinely engage youth in critical reflection
  • Seek longer term projects and involvement

Read the full report.

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