My name is Jordan Mapley and I am thankful to have received sponsorship from the Ganaraska Conservation Authority to attend the 2019 Ontario Nature Youth Summit. Through the kindness of the GRCA, I was able to attend the summit for free, which meant a lot to me as I am currently saving for post-secondary and the Summit is such a wonderful event.

This year was my second year attending the Youth Summit. Over 3 days, young environmental activists come together to connect, initiate conversation, and learn about conservation efforts. There was over 100 youth from over 70 communities in Ontario at the event this year. The weekend is usually broken down into workshop blocks in which mentors teach about Indigenous rights, climate change, photography, etc. A very wide range of topics is explored. Attendees have the privilege of selecting their workshops. Everyone can learn and take away knowledge in the specific fields they are most interested in.

I have always loved nature. Going to events like these inspires me to make changes in not only my day to day life but also within my community. I am passionate about spreading awareness about climate change. I left the summit this year feeling educated enough to get out and do that. At Port Hope High School, I can dedicate a lot of my time to learning about the environment and conservation. The school’s environmental club/class created bird feeders and bee boxes this semester and has been selling them at local events. The profit goes right back into the community garden and other environmental efforts at the high school. We will continue selling these products into the new year and the school can be contacted directly for those interested in purchasing such items.

I am grateful to have so many eager role models surrounding me. I have tons of contacts from the summit that I talk with often. Thanks to social media, I can easily keep up with all my friend’s environmental endeavors. I hope to move forward and also lead more school-wide/community events come the new year. In the spring, the community garden will be replanted and that will be the focus of the environmental club until summer break. Looking forward, I personally have hopes of pursuing a degree in environmental science after high school. It is due to events like the Youth Summit that I was able to find my passion for nature and consider it as a possibility for my future. Thanks once again to the GRCA and Ontario Nature for enabling youth to become educated about the environment and for encouraging future generations to make the changes they want to see.