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Nashville Youth Climate Leadership Retreat Builds Community and Skills of Local Students

September 6, 2023

The Cumberland River Compact hosted our inaugural Nashville Youth Climate Leadership Retreat in late July 2023. Six young leaders from Nashville spent the day learning and growing their leadership skills for climate action. Students learned alongside local leaders, explored sustainability in downtown Nashville, and honed their own leadership action plans.

The Leadership Retreat is part of the Cumberland River Compact’s Nashville Youth Climate Program. Launched in 2019, the program fosters a community for young people to learn about climate change and take local action. The Program includes the annual Youth Climate Summit and recently included Youth Climate Action Projects. The Leadership Retreat offered a complement to these projects that focused on deeper engagement and skill-building.

The Nashville Youth Climate Program supports the Cumberland River Compact’s Climate Vision and climate resilience framework, which prioritizes building future leaders and supporting the work that young people can do now.

Students who applied and were selected for the Retreat included Madison (Nashville School of the Arts), Bethel (MLK), Millie (MLK), Sarah (Hume-Fogg), Bernie (James Lawson), and Frida (MLK).

Highlights from the Nashville Youth Climate Leadership Retreat:

Conversation on Nashville’s Climate Action Plan: We were delighted to be joined by Dr. Kendra Abkowitz, Chief Sustainability and Resilience Office with Metro Nashville. She shared about the progress of Nashville’s climate action plan and discussed actions with students.

Visit to Music City Center: We had a guided tour of Music City Center – a LEED Gold-certified building right in downtown Nashville. We got to see the famous green roof of Music City Center and learn about all the local artists featured in the building.

Climate Impacts in Nashville: On our walk to Music City Center we looked for evidence of climate impacts, the built environment, and community characteristics that are important to understanding how climate change is affecting Nashville.

Climate Communications: Despite most Americans being worried about climate change, it is something that can still be difficult to talk about with family and friends. We used the Action for Climate Emergency framework to practice climate conversations.

Leadership Plan: Each student explored how they can use their own spheres of influence to enact more local climate action. They each developed and shared a personal plan.

Keep up to date with the Nashville Youth Climate Program on Instagram. We share resources and opportunities for young people to get involved.


Catherine Price is the Senior Program Manager at the Cumberland River Compact, where she manages the organization’s education, engagement, and volunteerism programs. Catherine brought the Youth Climate Summit model to Nashville in 2020 and has presented alongside national leaders on the Nashville program. Catherine has a Master of Science in Zoology from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Miami University.