Outdoor Advocates - Columbia Land Trust
The Land Trust’s junior board celebrates its two-year anniversary.

February marks the two-year anniversary of Columbia Land Trust’s Young Ambassadors, a group of young professionals charged with growing the next generation of Northwest conservationists. “There are tons of local young people who appreciate hiking and being out in nature, but few take the next step in helping conserve and restore those places,” said Laura Planck, one of the group’s core members. Each young ambassador does just that while growing socially and professionally.

Molly Privratsky at the Dharma Rain Zen Center

Privratsky at the Dharma Rain Zen Center

In 2014, Development Director Dianne Alves, along with former Development and Communications Assistant Hannah Carlton, set out to build a vibrant and strong group to advance the Land Trust’s mission in conserving and caring for vital lands, waters, and wildlife in the Columbia River region through sound science and strong relationships. “It didn’t take long before the junior board of ten embarked on its charter, opening new doors for the Land Trust,” said Alves.

“There’s a need to speak with my generation on conservation, and that’s something I’m on the forefront of,” said Molly Privratsky, an ambassador since the program’s establishment. Privratsky is a director of operations for an e-mail marketing agency, and like her, many of the ambassadors take time of out of their busy lives to attend monthly meetings and plan meaningful outdoor restoration projects.

The group also organizes community events, such as the Land Trust’s annual Habitap, which helps local young people learn what a land trust does in a casual brewery setting. They also volunteer on many of Columbia Land Trust’s restoration projects throughout the region, including work with the Backyard Habitat Certification Program, a partnership between Columbia Land Trust and the Audubon Society of Portland. In summer 2014, the group dug out invasive blackberries and four barrels of trash buried on the steep hillside at the Dharma Rain Zen Center in Northeast Portland, which made way for native plants and an urban wildlife habitat.

The Land Trust’s Young Ambassadors group is an invaluable resource in our efforts to connect with young communities. We’re grateful that our ambassadors are dedicated to giving back and starting early in their lives to protect the Northwest lands we all value.

If you’re interested in becoming a member of the young ambassadors, now called the Emerging Leaders Council (ELC), tell us about yourself.