What is the Activist Training Lab?
The Activist Training Lab is the Endangered Species Coalition’s competitive, year-long training program for people who want to learn how to make an impact through grassroots organizing and political advocacy!
The Endangered Species Coalition’s mission is to stop the human-caused extinction of our nation’s most at-risk species. Our world is currently experiencing devastating biodiversity loss, caused by human activities such as habitat destruction, climate change, chemical pollution, and the wildlife trade. This loss of biodiversity threatens all of us, but disproportionately hurts the most marginalized people in society, including people of color, Indigenous peoples, low-income communities, and others. The Activist Training Lab will develop your organizing and advocacy skills broadly and will also deepen your knowledge of the critical, interconnected issues of biodiversity conservation and environmental justice.
The transformative year-long program is designed to provide you with a powerful combination of environmental knowledge, grassroots organizing skills, and opportunities for hands-on experience with activism. You will complete the program with the tools to create real impact in your community on the issues you are most passionate about, from wildlife conservation to justice work. If you want to become an agent of change, this is the program for you.
The application for the September 2021 – August 2022 cycle of the Activist Training Lab will be made available in May 2021.
How It Works
In the Activist Training Lab, you are part of a small group of 12 – 16 people from across the United States, of different ages and backgrounds, who all care about protecting our planet and our people through grassroots organizing. Together, you and your cohort will complete the year-long Activist Training Lab program, which includes:
- Webinars, where you learn about different topics and skills from experts across the environmental community and participate in engaging discussions.
- Opportunities to get hands-on experience with activism and make an impact in your community, with the support of the Activist Training Lab team.
- Access to books, articles, movies, videos, and other resources for further learning.
- One-on-one support and mentorship from someone on the Activist Training Lab team.
Benefits of Participating
- Build skills such as recruiting people, developing leaders, running meetings, telling compelling stories, working with the media, lobbying, planning events, and more.
- Learn more about conservation, environmental policy, and environmental justice.
- Develop lasting friendships with a network of professional and volunteer environmentalists and organizers across the country.
- Earn a certificate of completion that can build your resume, support a career change, and or be used toward high school or college community service requirements (depending on your county).
- Become someone who is better equipped to make a difference in your community and the world at large through the powerful tools of organizing and advocacy.
The Activist Training Lab program will begin in September 2021 and conclude in August 2022. We expect participants to commit to the entire year. The program requires ~10 hours per month.
Webinars (2 hours) will occur twice a month (every other week). Between the webinars there will be opportunities to get hands-on practice with the skills you have learned and receive one-on-one support and mentorship. The program is completed entirely online and through work in your own community. And the Activist Training Lab is 100% free – no fees.
Who Can Apply
You must be 16 years of age or older.
You must live in the United States.
This is not for professional environmental advocates or organizers (meaning you currently work or have significant professional experience in this field). This program is designed for people who are volunteer activists or want to become volunteer activists, or who are hoping to start a career in environmental organizing but have not yet.
We believe that biodiversity loss disproportionately impacts the most marginalized people in our society, and we believe vulnerable communities must be centered in the work we do. We especially encourage you to apply if you identify with a community that has traditionally been marginalized in the environmental movement and society at large, including (but not limited to) people of color, Indigenous peoples, youth, seniors, and LGBTQ+ , low-income, rural, and immigrant communities.
How Do I Apply?
The application process for 2020-2021 is over. In May 2021, applications to join the next Activist Training Lab cycle that starts in September 2021 will be available.
We will carefully select the strongest applicants to move on to interviews conducted over phone and video chat. The strongest applicants will:
- Demonstrate a clear interest in protecting biodiversity and advancing environmental justice
- Demonstrate a clear interest in building skills of grassroots organizing and mobilization
- Be enthusiastic about committing to a year-long program
- Be excited to learn through both webinars and hands-on work in your community
- Be committed to learning in a diverse community and respecting people of different identities and backgrounds
Who’s Running The Program?
The Activist Training Lab is directed by Sarah Starman, the National Grassroots Organizer with the Endangered Species Coalition. In addition, multiple staff members at the Endangered Species Coalition are also involved, as well as partners and allies from across the environmental and justice organizing fields. You can learn more about our staff here.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact Sarah. Her email is [email protected].