More than 200 key stakeholders participated in the Inspiring a New Generation (ING): A North American Summit, held November 6-8, 2015, at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. They met to design strategies to build life-long relationships with nature for current and future generations. The resulting pillars of the Framework for Action: 15 Initiatives for Change includes actions that participants prioritized and committed to carry out in the next five years.

The Brandwein Institute, in partnership with the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), and ten other major organizations, convened the Summit with most participants from the United States, Canada, and Mexico as well as some from other countries including China, Australia, Brazil, and Peru. The ING Summit built on the issues identified by the Inspiring a New Generation Stream at the 2014 World Parks Congress.

The unique conference agenda was structured with brief provocations followed by facilitated breakout group discussion regarding what’s working well now; identifying gaps, successes and aspirations; brainstorming initiatives that would help the ING movement gain momentum; overcoming significant barriers to success; and identifying and paving the way for new initiatives. Graphic facilitators led breakout group participants through a series of activities resulting in the identification of and commitment to a series of strategic actions.

 

On Saturday evening, November 7, the Brandwein Institute bestowed its highest award, the International Brandwein Medal, to U.S. National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis and former Parks Canada Director Alan Latourelle. (See press release.) Saturday evening also included a live performance by Music2Life featuring the talents of Noel Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul, and Mary), Tem Blessed, and Rachel Lastimosa (Dirty Boots). The event was a specially choreographed blend of live performances and testimonials from ING leaders, evocative videos, and energizing narration designed to invigorate participants and spark new perspectives on the work of ING.

As a result of deliberations at the North American Summit, Inspiring a New Generation (ING) transitioned to #NatureForAll to be explicitly inclusive of all generations and all audiences.

See the survey reports and the accompanying results, part of a larger evaluative research project that simultaneously measures the summit’s impact and outcomes.

The Brandwein Institute presented the findings from the ING North American Summit at a session at the 2016 World Conservation Congress.  There, representatives of the Brandwein Institute, the National Environmental Education Foundation, and the U.S. Forrest Service discussed the Initiatives resulting from the conference and the progress that has been made on them in the past year.  The session was well attended with audience members participating by telling stories of their early involvement with nature and the successful strategies their organizations used to connect people with nature.