The Washington Youth Summit on the Environment
George Mason University along with distinguished partners the National Geographic Society and the National Zoo is proud to host the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment (WYSE). This summer the WYSE welcomes 250 High School National Youth Delegates from all over the country. National Youth Delegates join the Mason community, which includes students and faculty from all over the world. Mason is both the largest public university in Virginia and one of the most culturally diverse universities in the nation.
George Mason University is setting the gold standard for the modern, public university. Its dynamic culture and innovative academic programs prepare Mason’s hard-working students for 21st century careers. Its commitment to teaching excellence combines with cutting-edge research that enriches the academic experience and is literally changing the world. Mason is affordable, yet offers high value. Ideally located in the National Capital region, students enjoy terrific cultural experiences and access to the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.
Mason attracts proven and innovative leaders in conservation, climate change, and the environment. Faculty members have developed the WYSE curriculum to suit the needs and potential of the nation’s most talented future leaders in the field. Curriculum includes hands-on learning with industry leaders, not only from Mason, but from international conservation experts and Washington insiders. High School National Youth Delegates will experience an integrated and forward-thinking approach to the environment, while acquiring valuable "in-the-trenches" knowledge.
Forrest Pritchard, Farmer and Writer, Smith Meadows Farm
Forrest Pritchard is a seventh generation farmer and New York Times bestselling author, holding degrees in English and Geology from the College of William & Mary. Upon returning from college in the mid 90s, he took over his grandparents’ farm ?primarily growing GMO corn and soybeans? hoping to make the land profitable for the first time in decades. On harvest day, when five tractor-trailer loads of grain reaped a meager paycheck of $18.16, he realized his family’s farm must radically change course. The following season, he devoted himself to farming organically and sustainably, raising free-range cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and chickens.
Twenty years later, his farm Smith Meadows is one of the oldest “grass finished” farms in the country, and sells at leading farmers’ markets in Washington DC. Chronicling his farming adventures, Forrest’s book Gaining Ground, A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm was named a top read by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post and NPR’s The Splendid Table, and made the New York Times Bestseller list.
Forrest’s new book, Growing Tomorrow, goes behind the scenes with 18 extraordinary sustainable farmers from across the country, an inspiring farm-to-table journey in story, photos and recipes.
"It was nice to be in a small group with a really interesting and engaging speaker. One of the big pluses was that all of us got to ask questions, and even engage in brief dialogues with the speaker. I found my particular seminar to be fascinating, so much so that it has given me a whole new direction to look into for the future. One of the best things about this conference has been seeing what opportunities are out there for people with an interest in the environment! It is great to see people (young and old) active and inspired to really solve problems."
"Among the many lessons I took away from the Summit, probably the biggest would be the importance of confidence. If you want to make a difference in the world you can't be afraid to step up and ask questions, and you can't be afraid to fight for what you believe in even in the face of opposition. Confidence in your beliefs and the ability to be proven wrong are the most important traits for young leaders to possess."