Youth stewardship

ATA is committed to empowering young people with the knowledge, skills and resources to champion environmental sustainability.

Our Model

2023 Youth Stewardship Mentees

Kanoa planting a'ali'i

Kanoa Nakamura

Kanoa Nakamura grew up in Waimanalo, Oahu, a place known as God’s Country for its unrivaled beauty. He was lucky to spend his youth being homeschooled next to the ocean. Being in nature everyday taught him to be aware of his surroundings and how they change. In his relatively short lifetime he’s witnessed the dramatic change in both the natural and social environment. To him, conservation allows the opportunity to foster knowledge of ‘āina with groups of similarly passionate humans, while spreading collective mana’o throughout their own circles.

Kanoa believes that connecting maturation of the self to the metamorphoses of the natural world gives way to the realization that humans cannot be separate from change no matter how hard they might try. Embracing the struggle for balance in the ecosystem is a commitment that humans as a collective will benefit from generations down the line.

Kanoa’s love of surfing any kine board of any kine wave gave him appreciation for clean water and healthy reefs. His hope is that his future children and grandchildren can bear witness to the same beauty and natural abundance he grew up with.

Cailyn planting maiʻa

Cailyn Schmidt

Cailyn Schmidt grew up in Monterey, CA, a small coastal town with an abundance of natural beauty. Her love of nature and creative inspiration from her surroundings led her to graduate from UC Berkeley with a double major in Conservation and Resource Studies and Music.

Her passion in conservation stemmed from high school and college, where she established educational community garden spaces from previous dump sites. Her personal goal is to reconnect people with nature through education and community-based conservation projects. She believes that healing people’s connections with nature also fosters well-being and catalyzes collective environmental action in the face of global warming.  

Cailyn’s interests recently branched out to include forestry and agroforestry as she believes planting food trees holds the solution to creating climate change resilience in her community. In her free time, she loves to read books, cook using vegetables from her garden, do yoga, hike in the rainforest, and play music.

Interested in sponsoring ATA's Youth Stewardship program? Email to learn more.