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  • PDEQ partners with Ironwood Tree Experience on Youth for Blue Skies

    Jan 11, 2022 | Read More News
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    Youth for Blue SkiesThe Pima County Department of Environmental (PDEQ) launches a new partnership with Ironwood Tree Experience (ITE) to develop an environmental program for young people called Youth for Blue Skies. Ironwood Tree Experience is a Tucson-based non-profit organization that specializes in creating programs that encourage youth to discover the natural world and be stewards of their environment.

    PDEQ implements the Clean Air Program, with an aim to reduce vehicle emissions that contribute to air pollution by increasing public awareness of air quality issues. Since 2005, ITE has been inspiring young people through experiences in nature, environmental education, conservation, and restoration projects. 

    The goal of the Youth for Blue Skies program partnership is to mobilize young people (ages 14-20) to engage with their community, schools, and neighborhoods to design and deliver transformative air quality and climate action projects within Pima County. Additional learning opportunities will also focus on environmental policy, public health, and project management. The first year will focus on recruiting a core youth leadership team of 8-10 students from schools in under-resourced and environmentally stressed communities and be guided by community partners and experts in air quality and climate change science and education. The leadership team will then facilitate future recruitment of a larger network of youth participants to join. “We are excited to partner with the PDEQ Clean Air Program to expand youth environmental education opportunities that focus on issues related to resilient communities, air quality and climate change,” said Eric Dhruv, ITE Program Director. 

    ITE and PDEQ will provide dedicated role models, mentors, resources, and support in order to inspire local youth to become community change-makers, through the lens of their lived experiences. The youth leaders will learn about air quality, climate change, and environmental justice topics, and will ultimately develop action plans and projects that are implemented within their own communities. The youth will be paid stipends for their participation in the program. Together, PDEQ and ITE, along with other dedicated community partners, intend to make it possible for young people to realize the future they want to see and guide them toward becoming environmental leaders who can facilitate constructive changes.

    Funding for the Youth for Blue Skies program comes from PDEQ's Clean Air Program grant, provided by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

    Contact: Natalie Shepp, PDEQ Senior Program Manager for Outreach and Education natalie.shepp@pima.gov, 520-724-6885