Roland Richardson, development officer for NRPA’s conservation initiatives, was recently named one of the North American Association for Environmental Education’s 30 Under 30. A partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the Global Environmental Education Partnership, the NAAEE 30 Under 30 program recognizes individuals in the United States and internationally, 30 years of age or younger, who are game changers in their community. These young people are taking on leadership positions to make a difference for the planet and engaging their communities, building relationships, and using the power of education to create change, and Roland’s inclusion in this prestigious group is well-deserved.
Roland’s love for the outdoors developed at an early age while on camping and backpacking trips with the Boy Scouts of America; he was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout in 2006. At the age of 14, he became involved with the Student Conservation Association (SCA), working on trail construction and restoration projects in national parks across the country. After high school, Roland completed an AmeriCorps-SCA internship, where he worked on large-scale conservation projects in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts and educated local youth about the environment. This experience inspired him to pursue a career in the environmental field and, in 2012, he graduated from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, with a B.S. in Ecology.
Today, Roland helps NRPA develop national programs that connect people to nature, encourage environmental stewardship and engage communities in conservation practices. Outside of his role at NRPA, he volunteers on several environmental committees and councils. Recently, he has become interested in environmental advocacy work and, earlier this year, spoke at his first congressional briefing, joining the Outdoor Alliance for Kids (OAK) to advocate for the Every Kid in a Park federal program.
From all of us here at NRPA — Congratulations Roland!