Gina Fiorile ’18, recent graduate of the University of Vermont Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, joins a group of thirty young leaders from around the world who are being recognized as top change-makers in environmental education for 2018 by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).

Each year, the Environmental Education (EE) 30 Under 30 program highlights the work of professionals, under the age of 30, representing diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, who are using environmental education to create change in their communities and forge a sustainable future. These thirty awardees are leaders in their communities across five continents.

During high school in Saranac Lake of upstate New York, Fiorile became involved in The Wild Center’s Youth Climate Summit Program, which convenes students annually and empowers them to create climate action plans for their schools and communities. As a leader in climate action and education, Fiorile, an environmental studies major, brought the model for the Youth Climate Summit to Vermont and helped to organize four annual summits. The Vermont Youth Climate Summit now brings hundreds of students from across the state to the UVM campus each year. Fiorile also continued to work with The Wild Center to engage and support other emerging Youth Climate Summits across the U.S. and beyond. 

While at UVM, her work garnered her three invitations to the White House to speak on climate education and to engage with environmental leaders and other champion change-makers nationwide. As a climate education intern supported through UVM’s David Blittersdorf Professorship of Sustainability Science and Policy held by Jon Erickson, Fiorile helped to organize the Climate Education and Opportunities Collective Impact Summit, a national gathering to help cities and counties reach net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050. 

“I feel honored to receive recognition as a 30 Under 30 leader in the field of environmental education and to represent my peers who work tirelessly on environmental issues every day,” said Fiorile. “I am excited to be more deeply immersed in a network of young leaders who are passionate about taking action on some of the most pressing challenges of our time. I believe this community will continue to inspire me to pursue opportunities in the climate education realm in my future career.” 

The 30 Under 30 program is made possible by the Global Environmental Education Partnership and the U.S. Forest Service. Now in its third year, EE 30 Under 30 has honored 90 young leaders from across the globe, spotlighting their efforts and providing resources and a network to advance their careers.

“We are thrilled with the incredible talent, passion, and leadership of these dedicated young individuals who join a growing community of environmental education champions,” said Judy Braus, Executive Director of NAAEE. “They are not only working towards a sustainable future but also inspiring the next generation of leaders who will follow in their footsteps. NAAEE is excited to support their diverse efforts and their continued growth as exceptional environmental education leaders.”

Fiorile will attend the 2018 NAAEE Annual International Conference in Spokane, Washington, on October 10-13, 2018, where this year’s awardees will be honored and several will share their stories and perspectives on how to develop leadership in the field of environmental education. 

“It’s a fabulous honor to see Gina recognized by NAAEE for her dedication and leadership in the field of environmental education around climate change,” said Tom Hudspeth, Professor Emeritus in the UVM Environmental Program and longtime leader in the NAAEE. “The Association received more than 150 applications for the EE 30 Under 30 program, so for Gina to be named as one of 30 outstanding young leaders from around the world is a very big deal. I expect to hear much about Gina and her impact on the field of environmental education in the future.” 

Fiorile will also participate in the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, on September 12-14, 2018, as an invited delegate representing young people in New York state and Vermont. At the summit, a select group of world leaders and NGOs will focus on how to take action on policies adopted at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21, in Paris, which Fiorile attended. She currently works full-time at a non-profit in Lake Placid, New York and plans to pursue a graduate degree in communications or a similar field that she can apply to her environmental career.


To learn more about Gina Fiorile and her work that brought her recognition by NAAEE, visit