Wanted: Student Environmental Inspiration Stories!

We’re pleased to announce our partnership with the Green Schools Initiative, which plans to feature students’ stories of inspiration during the 2014 Green Schools National Conference and Student Summit.

GSI’s Nature’s Voices Project is a new initiative aimed at amplifying students’ voices, as young people share their stories of how they benefit from environmental education and green schools. The stories collected through the Nature’s Voices Project will illustrate the positive impacts of the green schools movement, including improved academic performance, enhanced student health, environmental conservation, and community service.

Sharing at the GSNC
These youth stories will be shared in the lead-up to the Green Schools National Conference in e-newsletters and via social media. At the conference itself, we will have large-format and table-top displays featuring student stories. We will also select the best stories and invite those student authors to tell their stories during the General Session at the conference and at the Student Summit.

We need your help!
We are offering a free scholarship for one student to attend the Green Schools National Conference and Student Summit in March to tell their story during the conference’s General Session “Pending funding”.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Please submit up to two passionate and inspirational stories written by students. Themes might include health, the environment, academic achievement, green schools, and positive school culture (anti-bullying), among others that exemplify your mission. We encourage you to submit stories with a diverse range of age, gender, race and themes.
  • We encourage you to either send stories that you currently have on file, or to reach out to teachers/students before the deadline so that they can submit their own, using the template provided below. Please be advised we may edit for length, clarity, or other reasons.
  • We will collect stories on a rolling basis, but the final deadline for submitting stories for displays and for the conference is January 31, 2014.
  • Green Schools Initiative will organize a “jury” to help select the best stories to display at the conference and invite the student authors to share their story at the conference.

Please complete the Story Submission Form and submit it with a photo of the student author or the program in action to naturesvoices@gmail.com. OR use the submission form on the Nature’s Voices website: http://naturesvoices.org/submit-your-story.html

Waivers: Please check the boxes in the Story Submission Form indicating that you have permission from parents to submit this story and photo. We have also attached our Photo Release if you are submitting a new story without your organization’s prior permission to use it.
View Photo Release

You can read some of the stories already collected at www.naturesvoices.org.  The core elements of a successful story are:

  • A main character and a descriptive setting
  • A “before” setting, and the problem, with sensory details
  •  An “aha moment,” or a turning point (“after this experience, I realized that…”), or a surprising or magical moment
  • Specificity, not a general blanket statement about nature, with the story making a specific reference to a green school or environmental ed project, teacher or program.
  • The positive impact this experience has on the student and/or her school/fellow students

View an Example Story 

We look forward to collaborating on this project to showcase your organizations, amplify youth voices, and use the power of storytelling to promote our movement and our mission!

Some details about how the stories will be used and shared include:

  • Green Schools Initiative/Nature’s Voices Project will share stories on its website, and include a brief description of your student’s organization, program, or school (link to your website, etc);
  • Green Schools National Network will feature stories in e-newsletters and conference promotions along with info about your organization/program;
  • Green Schools Initiative will fabricate large-format and table-top displays of selected stories to showcase at the 2014 Green Schools National Conference, and at other future events.
  • GSNN partner organizations will be invited to use the stories in their own work and also link to the Nature’s Voices website.