16 Feb Kupu Receives National Recognition With 2017 Project of the Year Award

The environmental non-profit is recognized for spearheading education programming at 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

Honolulu – Kupu, Hawai‘i’s leading conservation and youth education organization, was one of four organizations in the nation and the only in the state to receive The Corps Network’s 2017 Project of the Year Award. This prestigious accolade celebrates the local nonprofit for the critical role it played in establishing youth-focused programming at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress, which engaged over 1,500 students from more than 20 countries throughout the world. Kupu will be honored at The Corps Network 2017 National Conference, taking place Feb. 12-15, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

“This award is a true celebration of our incredible team and partners, who helped strengthen our impact and create a robust platform of educational opportunities at this year’s IUCN World Conservation Congress,” said John Leong, CEO of Kupu. “When we focus our efforts in elevating our youth, we’re establishing a new generation of stewards that will lead our communities towards a healthier, more sustainable future.”

Kupu played a significant role in developing and launching various youth-based programs during the 10-day conference. The Congress included 10 education-focused events, including: the He Puko’a Kani ‘Aina – Biocultural Conservation Stories from Pacific Island Youth; a youth symposium; student-guided media workshops; and eco-system restoration projects. In addition, Kupu kicked off the inaugural IUCN Students’ Day: Hawai‘i Youth Challenge 2020, bringing together 1,000 middle and high school students and teachers throughout the state, where they engaged in conservation related discussions and participated in a Design Thinking workshop led by Oceanit, to develop collaborative and sustainable solutions for their communities.

“Hawai‘i set a precedence for engaging youth in the IUCN Congress,” said Randall Tanaka, president of the IUCN National Host Committee. “Kupu’s leadership development program is second to none, and with their experience and partnerships, this year’s Congress was the biggest and most successful youth engagement initiative in the history of the IUCN. Through their efforts and our partners’, we were able to accomplish one of Committee’s critical priorities of building the next generation’s capacity while integrating our unique culture and values.”

Furthering the impact of the Congress, Kupu recently celebrated the launch of the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge (HYSC), a new educational mini-grant program that provides financial support to environmental projects proposed by Hawai‘i’s K-12 students and educators. HYSC was first announced by First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige at the 2016 IUCN Congress and is dedicated to inspiring youth to be intentionally engaged with the environment through action, advocacy and education.

For the past decade, Kupu has served as a member of The Corps Network, which leads and supports over 130 of America’s Service and Conservation Corps that engage participants in service projects, job training and academic programming. The organization delivers three distinguished accolades each year, chosen through a competitive nomination process: Corpsmember of the Year, Project of the Year and Legacy Achievement Awards. For more information about the organization and awards, visit http://www.corpsnetwork.org/.

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