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2011-11-23 / Headlines

Wounded Knee Woman receives Fellowship

Recognized for Innovative Environmental Leadership

New York, NY, November 16, 2011 –A South Dakota woman, who resides in Wounded Knee, is the recipient of a national conservation fellowship that will allow her to bring sustainable housing to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Shannon Freed is one of 40 individuals nationwide selected as a 2011 Together- Green Fellow. Supported by a conservation alliance between Audubon and Toyota, the TogetherGreen Fellowship offers specialized training in conservation planning and execution, the chance to work and share best practices with gifted conservation professionals, and assistance with project outreach and evaluation. Each Fellow receives $10,000 towards a community-focused project to engage local residents in conserving land, water and energy, and contributing to greater environmental health.

For her TogetherGreen Fellowship, Freed plans to use a sustainable home she created as a demonstration site for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which is located in the southwest corner of South Dakota and is home to the Oglala band of the Lakota Sioux. It resides in Shannon County, one of the poorest areas in the country. Freed will work to expand sustainable practices, like food production and wild food harvesting. She’ll offer training opportunities for residents and focus on a youth “Garden to Table” program that will take youth into gardens and forests to gather food then into the kitchen to prepare them. Eventually, she wants to develop her demonstration site into a hub for service learning projects, promoting sustainable living and permaculture throughout the reservation.

“The TogetherGreen Fellowship is allowing me to cultivate a new project under our already growing program, as well as the opportunity to fine tune the scope of the entire program” said Freed. “This fellowship is a great opportunity to expand this grassroots movement and reach more people here on the reservation.”

“Shannon has the passion and the skills to inspire others, which is exactly the kind of person the environmental community needs to tackle the huge challenges and opportunities confronting us,” said Audubon President David Yarnold. “Our TogetherGreen Fellows represent a talented and diverse group; each a proven leader with a commitment to both the environment and his/her community.”

Freed received her Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University. She is currently enrolled in the Lakota Leadership and Management graduate program at Oglala Lakota College, a degree she is seeking to ensure that Lakota values and protocols are integrated into the grassroots organization she directs on the reservation. The organization, Earth Tipi (www.earthtipi.org), works to promote sustainable living for the residents of the Pine Ridge Indian reservation while simultaneously preserving the language and culture for future generations

Fellowship recipients were chosen from a large pool of highly qualified individuals. All were required to have at least six years of experience in conservation, environmental education, policy, or related issues; a demonstrated passion for conservation and a proven track record of reaching previously underserved audiences. Applicants also need to express a desire to learn and grow. An advisory committee composed of conservation professionals and experts in environmental education, communications, outreach, and conservation planning made selections.

A complete list of the 2011 Together- Green Fellows can be found at www.TogetherGreen.org/fellows.

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