The Redford Center Launches Third Year of Youth Environmental Justice Initiative

Free youth education program and curriculum celebrates transformational storytelling, creative education, community well-being, and global justice

Oct 22, 2021

Today, The Redford Center announced the continuation of its popular Redford Center Stories program, a go-to resource for educators, after school program leaders, youth development organizations, and homeschooling parents interested in leveraging the power of storytelling and film to support young people in learning about the environment. Redford Center Stories features a free, flexible, film-based curriculum, a series of virtual workshops and events, and an inclusive learning community designed to actively engage our youth in the environmental justice movement.  

This year’s program launches today, on Half-Earth Day, and will culminate on Earth Day, April 22, 2022, with the announcement of the winners of the Redford Center Stories Challenge—the program’s annual filmmaking challenge that invites students in grades 5-12 to create and submit a short film that tells a story that is personal to them and helps propel action towards a more just environmental future. 

About Redford Center Stories

Now entering its third year, after a two-year pilot, Redford Center Stories brings educators and students into dialogue with youth activists, filmmakers, and environmental and social justice leaders, nurturing the next generation of environmental advocates and storytellers. Last year, 400 student films were submitted from youth in 32 states and 13 countries. Based in creative youth development principles, Redford Center Stories invites educators, organizations, families, and students to participate in:

  • Annual youth filmmaking challenge, providing an expansive take on environmental justice and how it shows up in young people’s lives. 
  • Comprehensive, free curriculum that includes suggested standards and utilizes the rich collection of environmental films and media created by The Redford Center and its global network of filmmakers and storytellers.
  • Public event series – Meet the Moment – that combines professional development for all educators with learning opportunities for classrooms that engage students as experts and media-makers.
  • Mentoring pathways that put students in direct relationship with filmmakers, environmental activists, creative youth development experts, and each other. 

“My hope for this year’s program is that we have at least another 400 student films made and thousands more students engaged in exploring what environmental justice means to them, particularly students from environmentally impacted communities,” said Jill Tidman, Executive Director of The Redford Center. “The world we are leaving for our young people will be radically different from the world of today. This program and curriculum was designed to help equip them as advocates and problem solvers for all that lies ahead.” 

Redford Center Co-Founder Robert Redford shared, “It’s time to hand the reins to our youth and encourage them to become the designers of their future. Young people have the optimism, energy, and fresh perspective we need to meet our environmental challenges head-on. We must honor their efforts and support them as leaders.”

Filmmaker and mentor for the 2020-21 Redford Center Stories program, Pita Juarez shared, “It’s been a great experience participating with the Redford Center Stories mentorship program. I remember the young storyteller in Phoenix who did not have that growing up so whenever an opportunity to mentor the next generation comes around, I always make the time for it. Creating new stories with young minds is also challenging me to think outside of the narrative box.”

Educator, Family & Organization Registration

Educators, families, and organizations interested in participating in Redford Center Stories can learn more and sign up here. Participants will receive a welcome email, details on how to access the curriculum, instructions for this year’s Student Filmmaking Challenge, and regular updates throughout this year’s program.

2021-22 Redford Center Stories Challenge

The Redford Center invites students in grades 5-12 to tell their story, raise their voice, and help reimagine environmentalism for all. Students are invited to submit a 90-second film responding to this year’s Stories Challenge prompts:

  • Prompt #1:
    The future I envision is…
    What do you envision for the future of our world and our environment? A vision statement is a powerful thing to imagine and share with others so that communities can come together to share and realize similar goals and missions. What future do you envision? How can we work to make it a reality?
  • Prompt #2:
    I’m an environmentalist because…
    This is your opportunity to stake your claim as an “environmentalist.” What are you fighting for? How are you investing in environmental justice, protection, and/or regeneration? What are you doing to meet the moment?
  • Prompt #3:
    A call to action.
    Produce a public service announcement (PSA) that creates awareness about, or shows the importance and impact of, a problem facing the environment overall, your local environment, or the communities most impacted by the climate emergency. What do you want your audience to feel and to know? What behavioral change do you hope people will make, and how can you help inspire this change?All final films are due in early March and will be followed by a winners’ announcement on Earth Day, April 22, 2022. See the full list of Stories Challenge prompts here. 

2021-22 Meet the Moment Series

All Redford Center Stories participants, and the public, are invited to the Meet the Moment series—a free and inclusive virtual community dialogue series featuring filmmakers, educators, youth activists, and organizations discussing energizing and impactful solutions for environmental justice. 

The first Meet the Moment event will take place on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, from 10-11 am PT (Pacific Time) against the backdrop of a growing, collective urgency surrounding the environmental crisis and the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26)—an annual international event where world leaders meet to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. In focusing the first Meet the Moment event on and in the midst of COP26, The Redford Center aims to provide educators and attendees with the opportunity to engage more deeply in this annual international summit.

The virtual program will focus on the power of youth voice and civic action, and feature three short films about the power of youth activism directed by young environmental activists, and a live panel discussion and Q&A with the youth filmmakers—all of whom have . It will be live-streamed via YouTube, and participants are encouraged to watch it in their classrooms and engage by submitting questions for the panelists.

Register for The Redford Center’s November 3rd Meet the Moment event here. 

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Co-founded in 2005 by Robert Redford and his son James Redford, The Redford Center uses the power of storytelling to galvanize environmental justice and regeneration. Its cross-cutting programs support environmental storytellers and invest in impact-driven narrative strategies. By amplifying and changing the conversations around environmentalism, The Redford Center aims to engage a much broader and more diverse population in the movement. It has produced three award-winning feature documentaries and 30+ short films, supported 75+ film and media projects with grants and other services, inspired 400+ student films, and dispersed more than $8 million to fiscally sponsored projects. Redford Center film impact campaigns have halted the construction of dirty coal plants, reconnected the Colorado River to the Sea of Cortez, and helped accelerate the clean energy revolution in America. For more information, visit  

Arathi Govind, Program Officer 

Emily Motill, The Redford Center / R&CPMK, 203-733-6009

Hannah Edelman, The Redford Center / R&CPMK, 954-806-0170