Erinn Drage

Roles at NAAEE:

30 Under 30, Changemaker Grantee

Freelance Producer
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

2021 EE 30 Under 30 Changemaker Grant Project
Generation Wild: An Exploration of Youth-led Conservation in Canada (with Connel Bradwell)

Generation Wild is an online educational digital media series designed to showcase the work of young Canadian environmentalists as they seek to address and mitigate the biggest environmental issues impacting our planet; the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.

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EE 30 Under 30 Biography

Halifax, NS, Canada                               
Age: 24

Erinn works to connect others to the natural environment through outdoor guiding and storytelling. 

Tell us about yourself!

I was born and raised in the coastal city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, but my love for public lands, conservation, and recreation has taken me around the world as both a guide and as a traveler. I have worked on environmental education projects ranging from public education about arctic national parks to a documentary focused on an Indigenous-stewarded trail in the wilderness of the Northwest Territories through Trails in Tandem. Most recently I have been working as a guide and naturalist in the polar regions with high school students and tourists, sharing my passion for the arctic and Antarctica with as many people as possible. I am now studying Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management at Penn State University with a focus on national parks and Leave No Trace principals. After my studies, I hope to continue working full-time in conservation advocacy and environmental education.

What inspired you to become a champion for environmental education?

First and foremost, I am a champion for the environment because I love spending time in healthy ecosystems and wild places. Most of my happiest memories come from my experiences immersed in nature, from childhood through my early adulthood. I learned long ago that not everyone has the same access to (or connection with) wild and natural spaces that I have, and I am passionate about connecting people with opportunities to get outside and build a relationship with nature. I am always trying to engage in formal or informal environmental education in the hopes of encouraging environmental stewardship and positive environmental ethics and behaviors. I truly believe that in order to protect the natural environment, more of us must develop a profound respect for the value of nature in all of its forms – and this respect and understanding starts with environmental education.

What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders that are looking to bring about positive change in their communities through EE?

The power of environmental education is endless. Every student, old or young, who has the opportunity to learn from an environmental educator is impacted in ways that can’t always be measured. Whether you’re working in a classroom setting, unconventional education, or even just sharing your passion for the environment with friends and family, environmental education is an important piece of the puzzle to protect the environment and move toward a more sustainable planet.  

What keeps you motivated, inspired, or hopeful for the future?

The astounding power of nature is a strong source of inspiration for my work in environmental advocacy and education. Whenever I get the opportunity to be fully immersed in a natural setting with minimal human development, I am reminded of why I have chosen this professional path. Even more motivating, though, are the opportunities to facilitate and guide other peoples’ experiences in nature, and help them to connect with the plants, animals, or geology around them. Seeing the wonder in others’ eyes the first time they see a penguin, a polar bear, the view from a mountain peak, or the endless arctic tundra, I am more motivated to continue protecting and educating about these incredible places.

If you could be any animal or plant, what would you be and why?

I would be an Arctic Tern. An Arctic Tern isn’t only beautiful to watch diving for food or flying through the air, but it also has incredible strength and endurance. Every year the Arctic Tern flies over 35,000 miles from the arctic to Antarctica and back again, completing the longest animal migration on earth. Since I love the polar regions and have always wanted to fly carbon free, the life of an arctic tern seems pretty idyllic.

 

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