Youth Leadership Program





The Bioneers Youth Leadership Program is a life-transforming opportunity for young leaders to learn, further develop leadership skills, build alliances, and strengthen the capacity and connection among youth and elders focused on environmental, social justice and food systems work. The Youth Leadership Program is a parallel program that occurs within the annual National Bioneers Conference where youth are encouraged—though not limited—to attend youth-related workshops and activities.


As former Youth Leadership Program Director Kristin Rothballer said, “Youth are now defined by ecological crises in a way that past generations have not been.” The challenges are formidable indeed, but we are grateful to nurture, mentor and support the education and leadership of our youth as they carry forward the long struggle for building just and resilient communities.

If you're a young person aged 13-23 and you're committed to creating positive change in the world, then you are primed to join us for the annual National Bioneers Conference and experience our Youth Leadership Program!

2015 Highlights

  • Orientation: Thursday night before the conference, meet other young changemakers who will be attending Bioneers and join an intimate mentoring team where you will  share, process and explore your Bioneers experience during the conference with your peers and an experienced mentor from Weaving Earth. A healthy, delicious dinner will be served.
  • Community of Mentors: Connect with Bioneers leaders across diverse disciplines, issues and backgrounds. Special youth programming and mentoring have included Chief Oren Lyons, Van Jones, Michael Pollan, Nikki Silvestri and Charlotte Brody among many others. In truth, it’s a mutual mentoring process, and the Bioneers “mentors” gain much from the experience.
  • Conference Participation: All-access pass to experience the inspiration and wisdom of the Bioneers keynotes nd panels of experts from all over the globe.


Youth Keynote Speakers

  • Jasmyn Mitchell: A seventeen-year-old climate justice activist from the heart of Boston, currently serves as an Action Fellow with Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), working on a campaign that would make Massachusetts the first state to divest fossil fuel investments from its pension funds. Jasmyn also works on food equity and sustainable agriculture issues with the Boston Food Project.
  • Junior Walk: Brower Youth Award Winner on Appalachian resistance to the coal mining industry and mountaintop removal.
  • Lynnea Shuck: Creator of Junior Refuge Ranger Program and 2014 Brower Youth Award Winner on National Wildlife Refuges: Connecting Kids to Nature.

Youth-Led Workshops

  • Rising Youth for a Sustainable Earth (RYSE) organizing meeting by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. Xiuhtezcatl  is a 15-year-old Indigenous change agent, environmental activist, public speaker, eco hip-hop artist, and the Youth Director of Earth Guardians—he is a powerful voice on the front lines of the youth-led climate movement.
  • David Brower Youth Award winners: 2015 Brower Youth Award Winners share stories, challenges and successful strategies for environmental justice. Learn practical tips like how to initiate community environmental campaigns, rally support and resources, and make real change for a more sustainable future. 
  • The Power of our Food Choices: Join Ceres Community Project Teen Leaders to explore how healthy food is not just what we put in our mouths but all the steps that the food took to get there.
Youth-oriented Projects and Activities
  • Youth of Color Caucus: What is the role of youth of color in the environmental movement?  Explore the connection between social justice and environmental crisis. Facilitated by Luisah Teish.
  • LGBTQ Caucus: A safe space to be with allies and share issues that pertain to your community in an open discussion facilitated by Kristin Rothballer.
  • Various media and art projects: digital storytelling, interactive mandala art project and more.
  • Youth Performances: open mic, poetry slam and more
  • Visit to learn more about our extensive programing!

The Youth Leadership Program has been working for over 15 years to inspire, connect and provide resources to youth who are committed to making the world a better place. Last year we had over 350 youth, of those 50% were youth of color and of that 65 were Indigenous youth. The diversity extends to all levels of experience and engagement, individuals and groups, giving young aspiring changemakers the opportunity to add to their tool kit, develop relationships, expand their network and move forward on their path with new strength and purpose.

Sound like you or someone you know? Join us!

To register, click here

We are pleased to offer deeply discounted student and educator rate tickets. Additional scholarships are available for students or groups with financial need. For more information, contact Roberta Giordano at

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A Smart Investment in the Future


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