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Clifton Alt spring break group 2022.JPG

Emerging Stewards Initiative

Emerging Stewards Initiative works to create new generations of ADK stewards from BIPOC communities across New York State who are invested in the sustainability and longevity of the Adirondack Park.  In consists of four key programs:

The Emerging Stewards Initiative facilitates four programs:

  1. The Bidirectional Exchange for students

  2. The Alternate Spring Break for university/college participants

  3. Claiming Space for BIPOC outdoor enthusiasts and tourism professionals

  4. BIPOC Guardian for K12 to Ranger school pipeline

Bi-directional Exchange Program

The Bi-Directional Student Exchange-  brings students from the NYC area and other urban areas around New York and introduces peers from schools in the Adirondack Park region. Students spend time learning about the Park, each other and what it means to be an agent of change, working together with ADI and hosting staff to develop their cultural consciousness. Throughout the experience, students, and parents/guardians intentionally engage innovative and transformational ideas, practices, and activities geared towards building sustainable relationships.



As an intervention focused on students, the bi-directional student exchange offers the following opportunities:

  1. Strengthens ethical partnership between Adirondack youth and their peers from NYC and other urban schools

  2. Supports learning from each other avoiding the risk of promoting a false teacher/student paradigm

  3. Can offer opportunities for knowledge and skill acquisition not available in learner’s home community

  4. Provides exposure to different modes of cultural consciousness

  5. Empowers children to be agents of change in their communities

  6. Encourages opportunities for novel approaches to centering equity and justice that places the children's lived experiences as expert knowledge from which to build understanding across differences

  7. Visiting children provide host institution with insights and alternate approaches to incorporating DEI into their organizational culture

  8. Cultivate an entire generation of ADK stewards from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities across New York State who are invested in the sustainability and longevity of the Park

  9. Provide opportunities for cross-cultural interaction and knowledge-building between peers of NYC & ADK school-aged children

  10. Facilitate teacher/worker exchanges between partnering ADK campsites and recreational organizations and participant schools

  11. Function as a bridge to other ADI programs such as K12 to Ranger School Pipeline with SUNY ESF

  12. Supports formation of new collaborations in research and education

  13. Improves understanding of ADK culture at partner site and thereby can improve the experience of future learners traveling to the ADK Park

Alternative Spring Break

College students are engaged through programs such as the Potsdam Alternative Spring Break wherein students from BIPOC communities in NY colleges and universities utilize their spring break to explore the Adirondacks, meet with local college students and focus collective minds on the intersections of racial and environmental justice. These conservationists of color will be the future stewards of the Adirondack park and beyond.

Claiming Space

Claiming Space is for BIPOC Outdoor Enthusiasts of all ages and tourism professionals. ADI welcomes excursion and tourism groups from BIPOC communities; introducing participants to the Adirondacks in ways that are safe, affirming and promote belonging. Individuals and groups come to learn about what the Adirondacks have to offer in terms of recreation while promoting positive experiences within their networks to build tourism and promote stewardship of the Adirondacks.  

BIPOC Guardians

The K12 Ranger School Pipeline program is being developed to address the lack of ranger diversity in New York's Department of Conservation. Working with local community activists and the Wanakena Ranger School to assist in efforts to diversify recruitment. The goal is to increase the diversity of trail staff who police and protect the Adirondack Park. 

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