Katharine Kurtz

Denver School of Science and Technology Montview

2020 Outstanding Youth Environmental Leadership Award Recipient

Katharine Kurtz - Outstanding Youth Environmental Leadership Award

Katharine is the founder of Project Outside, a group of conscious city dwellers choosing to engage with nature and change the urban relationship to the outdoors. Through outreach, education, and engagement, Project Outside challenges everyone to rethink the role of nature in the 21st century. Beyond personal action, Project Outside advocates for more environmental education in schools, and proposes a way to redefine the foundation for EE and the presence of nature in the urban lifestyle. She started Project Outside for her senior project, a culmination of her work throughout high school. She started #outside2020, a daily challenge to get outside reaching more than 200 people a day on Instagram.

In addition to her challenge, she’s collaborating with educators to write family-friendly urban environmental education curriculum. Her first unit, lessons for middle school students, focuses on how city dwellers can responsibly engage with the environment. It includes lessons on air and water pollution, composting, and eating locally. Each lesson is suitable for not only a classroom setting, but homeschooling as well. The lessons are available on her website. She hopes to share them with local educators, pushing for a system-wide shift in the EE community to adapt EE to the growing impact of technology.

Beyond Project Outside, Katharine is an intern with The Greenway Foundation, learning how to teach environmental education to children on fieldtrips. Her work with The Greenway Foundation builds the base for her EE curriculum and allows her to build skills for future teaching positions.