Reigniting our Global Community

By Julia Houghton, Alumni Engagement Coordinator

EarthCorps was founded on the vision that an international community of leaders can tackle the planet’s most pressing challenges and create a world where people and nature thrive together.

For this to happen, we recruit Corps members from around the globe and make cultural exchange a core part of our program. And with alumni in nearly 80 countries, we’re well on our way to realizing our vision.

As the pandemic continues, however, this element of cultural exchange has been sorely missed. So, we decided to get creative and do something about that!

On October 15th, EarthCorps brought together four international alumni and 37 current Corps members for a 1.5-hour virtual cultural exchange session. The event focused on global approaches to restoration and helped both alumni and Corps members connect with each other as part of the broader EarthCorps community.

The event opened with presentations from alumni speakers from four different countries. Roman (Russia), Puje (Mongolia), Vika (Slovakia), and George (Romania) each discussed their current work in conservation, including trail maintenance, pasture management, environmental protection programs, and wildlife preservation. Each alumni’s passion for their projects and excitement about EarthCorps was infectious and inspired brilliant questions from the Corps member audience.

Check out their presentations here:

Presentation from Roman Mikhailov (Russia)
Presentation from Puje Lkhagvasuren (Mongolia)
Presentation from Vika Vysna (Slovakia)
Presentation from George Caracaş (Romania)

Following the presentations, the group split into smaller breakout rooms for deeper conversations with the presenters around their topics as well as other discussion questions. Corps members were able to engage with alumni directly and get a glimpse into a few potential career paths in conservation and restoration.

The group then came back together and shared their takeaways from the presentations and discussions. Here are some of their insights:

“In my group we discussed the influence that visitor usage has on conservation in the US and how that is something that people in Mongolia are inspired by. It was really great to hear from Puje about the spiritual connection people there have with the land, and I think that is something that we could take inspiration from here.” – Anna

“A takeaway for me is how different various countries approach environmental issues and restoration and how lucky we are to have different protections agencies in place.” – Ariella

 “One of my takeaways is that there are many similar challenges faced in the restoration field all over the world.” – Haylie

“A takeaway for me is how conservation, socially, legally, or technically, can be so different yet so similar is many different parts of the world, and certain cultural conditions can make conservation goals more or less attainable.” – Sam

“I find it really interesting how communication plays a big role in conservation jobs. Knowing your audience or the way that landowners may views conservation issues can affect your approach when contacting them. I think perhaps in the future communication courses may be useful for students in conservation.” – Miranda

Screenshot of the Zoom call showing 20 participants listening to the presentations
Corps members sharing what they learned

The success of this virtual exchange event was in no small part due to the engaged participation of both our alumni speakers and Corps members. The session was inspiring and informative. It fostered meaningful cultural exchange between participants and provided a chance for EarthCorps community members to connect with each other over relevant conservation topics.

Want to join our international community of leaders? Learn more here!