Over the last 20 years, the Bioneers Youth Leadership and Education Program has served as an incubator for thousands of youth and educators to deepen their passion and power through self-expression, skills development, mentorship and deep relationship building within the broader community of Bioneers. The program has produced some of the most dynamic, engaging, and cutting edge programming within the Bioneers kaleidoscope and it continues to shape the work of youth movements, activism and education.
What We Do
20 Year Milestones
- Over 6200 youth have attended the Bioneers Conference
- Over 4500 youth were awarded scholarships
- 700 scholarships have been awarded to indigenous youth, representing 49+ tribes
- Over 100 youth have participated in the Intercultural Conversations program
- Over 40 youth have given keynotes on the main stage
- Bioneers has partnered with over 120 different youth leadership organizations and schools
- Over 1 million dollars have been invested in youth at Bioneers over the last two decades
- 85 educators have been trained in Biomimicry for STEM
About the Youth Leadership and Education Program
In 1999, 23-year-old Julia Butterfly Hill, protesting the clear-cutting of old-growth forests from her 180-foot perch in a 1000-year-old redwood tree, phoned into the Bioneers Conference, describing life in the canopy and reflecting on her experience as a young activist. The next year, she spoke at the Conference in person and challenged Bioneers to include and uplift youth at the conference because they are the emerging leaders of our movements. Julia’s invitation inspired us to establish the program with a steadfast commitment to integrating the voices of youth into our movements for environmental and justice.
For 30 years, the National Bioneers Conference has connected thousands of people with practical, visionary solutions for humanity’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. The Bioneers Youth Leadership Program launched in 2001 with the intention of giving young people a space to share with one another and develop as leaders in the movements to build a more just and regenerative future.
Through this Youth Leadership Program, Bioneers offers young people the opportunity to connect, build skills, and engage their activism through talking circles, interactive skill-building workshops, mentoring sessions, and creative projects. Our mission is to bring young people together across different movements and backgrounds to learn new practices, nurture intersectional frameworks for social and environmental justice activism, build relationships with other youth, as well as express their activism through media and the arts as a means of healing and reconciliation.
“When Julia Butterfly helped launch the Bioneers youth movement, I felt acknowledged as a young activist, that we do have something to offer, that we have the potential to create change. Being able to engage with her at Bioneers, I felt really honored to be in that circle and to feel like youth activists have a role to play. It really felt like an invitation and an affirmation for me that I was on a good path for myself, a path that would lead somewhere, and that folks would take notice of the work we were doing.”
– Eric Ohlsen, ED and Co-founder of Permaculture Skills Center