Young people protecting the planet

In honor of World Turtle Day on May 23rd, today we are celebrating young peoples’ efforts towards wildlife conservation. As champions of environmental activism, today’s youth are standing up to help at home, and abroad. Cassandra discovered that nearly 1 in 5 U.S. Trendsetters report that their next trip will be to volunteer, demonstrating just how important it is for Gen Z and Millennials to make a difference–not just for today, but for tomorrow. Theresia, a 16-year-old from New York told Cassandra, “[sustainable travel] really matters to me. It would be great if everyone can come together and make an impact.” Read below to learn about three voluntourism initiatives inspiring Gen Z and Millennials to protect the planet and its animals. Also, watch out for our upcoming report on travel.


Leading ecotourism company, GoEco offers a variety of volunteer programs–over 150 to be exact–for Gen Z and Millennials. Whether wildlife, environmental or community based, volunteers can pick just the right program for their interests and skills. Treat injured sea turtles in Ecuador? Check. Care for elephants in an ethical sanctuary in Thailand? Check. Practice sustainable farming in Japan? Check. From Spain to Ethiopia, Indonesia to Italy, volunteers can choose from programs all over the world, costing about $1k and ranging from a few days to a few months. GoEco offers some of the coolest cultural and cause-driven experiences out there. Check out their projects available to join this summer.


Standing for “Teens Researching Urban Ecology,” Project TRUE invites high school students to explore “wildlife and wild places of New York City.” This program, hosted by the Bronx Zoo, offers students the chance to spend their summer diving into science and adventure. Teens perform field research alongside “college students and scientists from Fordham University and the Wildlife Conservation Society.”


The Seattle Aquarium offers a unique, and meaningful fellowship program. Their Empathy Fellowship in marine conservation is “designed to create a pipeline into careers in aquariums, zoos and the conservation field for communities of color and other marginalized communities.” The full-time, year-long program offers learning opportunities, job experience, professional development all while working on an empathy community action project. Current empathy fellow Astrid Moncaleano is creating a “two-day workshop focus on the Latinx community youth between 16 to 21 years old to promote skill-building and pursue professional opportunities in the marine conservation field,” while fellow Jules created “The Aqueerium,” a marine conservation club for LGBTQ+ youth.