The Blueprint Foundation Receives Environmental Offsets from the Ecological Society of America

Blueprint veteran student-turned-mentor serving as a Student Educator for local middle school’s Salmon Watch field trip. Photo by Jason Stroman.

Large conferences leave a large environmental footprint – with air travel, accommodations, and production of single-use items all generating substantial carbon emissions and impacts on surrounding wildlife and habitats. As a way of offsetting a portion of the environmental costs of its Annual Meeting, ESA contributes $5 for each meeting registrant, which the Society then donates to a local project or organization in the city in which it meets. For this year’s Annual Meeting in Portland, ESA will donate over $19,000 to the Blueprint Foundation.

The Blueprint Foundation aims to eliminate the opportunity gap for Black youth within the Portland Metropolitan Area.  This is accomplished by engaging youth in culturally specific experiences that introduce them to, and prepare them for, family sustaining careers in disciplines where Black-identified individuals are currently underrepresented.

Funds from this year’s ESA offset will help support Grounding Waters and Constructing Careers, the organization’s flagship project-based mentoring programs for environmental science and green building. This programming uses hands-on training, multigenerational mentoring, and civic engagement to inspire Black youth to pursue careers in the green sector.

Blueprint students and mentors help conduct beaver surveys with Johnson Creek Watershed Council. Photo by Jason Stroman.

Cohort participants exercise best practices for fostering youth-driven community change through a 4-phase WISE model that has youth 1) witness watershed management issues and industry solutions, 2) investigate current conditions and mitigation efforts, 3) solve community environmental issues, and 4) educate their community about their efforts as it relates to neighborhood and community member health.

Upon helping Black-identified youth establish and deepen healthy relationship with nature, develop and own a sense of stewardship, and strengthen their knowledge and confidence around environmental justice issues, many matriculate into internships, higher education, and workforce development programs designed to diversify the green sector and provide economic opportunities that will break the cycles of poverty and disenfranchisement that continue to plague many of our community members.   


Blueprint students and mentors pose after hiking to the top of Cascade Head Natural Preserve led by The Nature Conservancy while on a retreat to the Oregon Coast. Photo by Jason Stroman.



2023 Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon
August 6-11, 2023

Ecologists from around the world are gathering in Portland this week for the 108th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Thousands of attendees are expected to gather for scientific presentations on breaking research and new ecological concepts at the Oregon Convention Center from August 6-11, 2023.

ESA invites press and institutional public information officers to attend for free. On-site press registrants will be able to attend all scientific sessions at the conference and will have access to a press room where they can enjoy refreshments, internet access, a printer and an interview area.

A virtual registration option is also available; virtual media resources will include access to over 40 livestreamed hybrid sessions and a variety of on-demand content. Presentation slides will be available starting after the corresponding in-person presentation is delivered.

To apply, please contact ESA Public Information Manager Heidi Swanson at Press attendees may also register on site during the week of the conference.