Press Release

E3 Summit Trains Next Generation of Trail Stewards

September 19, 2019

Participants will receive hands-on opportunities to learn about public lands, outdoor recreation, conservation practices and ways to support new stories in stewardship and recreation.

BRYSON CITY, N.C. (Sept. 19, 2019) – On September 27-29, the Everybody’s Environment Emerging Leaders Summit (E3) will provide a hands-on opportunity for students, educators and service leaders between ages 18-34 to learn about public lands, outdoor recreation, conservation practices and ways to support new stories in stewardship and recreation. The summit will take place at the YMCA Camp Watia outside of Bryson City near the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and will offer trail workshops, invaluable dialogue with conservation professionals, and connections to local environmental organizations and land management agencies.

The E3 summit will provide participants with hands-on experience and a variety of activities introducing conservation topics.

The keynote speaker for the summit will be Daniel White, also known as “The Blackalachian,” an A.T. thru-hiker and Asheville native who promotes the importance of outdoor recreation and environmental health to the next generation of conservationists. The summit will also feature a night sky program and telescope viewing with astronomer Bernard Arghiere, who will discuss the importance of conserving night skies. On September 28, National Public Lands Day, summit participants will also take part in a trail maintenance project on the A.T., receiving guidance and training from trail building professionals.

“By creating and co-hosting this opportunity, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy hopes to connect and foster new partnerships that will deepen our understanding of community needs and interests while providing skills and connections for volunteer and employment opportunities,” said Julie Judkins, director of education and outreach for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC). “Camp Watia will provide an experience and backdrop for the inspiration needed to generate creative ideas for collaboration.”

Thanks to a generous grant from REI, all costs for meals and lodging for the three-day summit are provided free to participants. Water bottles and backpacks will be provided for all participants thanks to generous donations from Hydro Flask and Osprey.

Applications are still being accepted for registration, and individuals are encouraged to apply at

The E3 summit is organized by Everybody’s Environment, a regional coalition of partners including the ATC, higher education institutions, federal and state agencies, environmental non-profits, regional land trusts, foundations and local businesses. This coalition works specifically to address interconnected challenges of decreased connection to the natural world resulting in negative impacts on health and academic success. Through programs like the E3 summit, Everybody’s Environment strives to provide equitable access to outdoor recreational, educational and employment opportunities. Learn more at

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park System, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is 2,192 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information, please visit

Media Contact: Julie Judkins
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.885.0481