Sierra Nevada Alliance’s environmental and recreational stewardship Ambassador Program, now entering its third year, is set to make a meaningful impact on Lake Tahoe this summer. The program trains and places students at popular locations within the Tahoe Basin, where they interact with tourists, provide environmental education and Take Care messaging, and promote the importance of stewardship and Leave No Trace ethics.
Recognizing increasing visitor diversity, the program aims to recruit a diverse mix of Ambassadors to communicate with and effectively engage tourists. The Ambassadors will collect valuable metrics using the Tahoe Citizen Science App, contributing to a consistent dataset over an extended period of time.
The program’s main objective is to establish a successful workforce development program for Lake Tahoe Basin young people while reducing harmful human impacts on Lake Tahoe. It also seeks to increase diversity within the conservation field and create a pathway for future workforce development programs.
The program also incorporates key messages of the Take Care Sierra campaign, further promoting responsible tourism and conservation efforts. Take Care Sierra is a recreational stewardship campaign designed to educate visitors and residents about how to take care of this treasured region. Take Care Sierra provides fun and easy ways to take action and step up to protect the Sierra. By mobilizing individual stewards, the campaign creates a ripple effect to garner more awareness and support from legislators and agency decision-makers to enhance regional protection.
Sierra Nevada Alliance’s Ambassador Program collaborates with other Ambassador efforts throughout the Basin and beyond to provide joint training opportunities, consistent messaging, shared duties, data collection, and reporting, and ideally, have a broader impact on effective stewardship in the Basin.
The program’s success is made possible by funding from the Nevada Division of State Lands – Nevada License Plate Program, the Tahoe Fund, the North Tahoe Community Association, and the North Tahoe/Incline Village Visitors Association. We are so grateful for their support, as this program is only possible because of their dedication to the cause.
As the program gains momentum, the Alliance hopes to secure additional long-term funding to sustain its activities and expand partnerships. The importance of educating visitors and residents about responsible tourism and caring for Lake Tahoe has become even more apparent, with recreational activities alone accounting for over 15 million visitor days in Lake Tahoe annually. Increased visitor traffic, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has increased environmental challenges such as littering, overcrowding, illegal campfires, and traffic pollution, jeopardizing forest health, water clarity, and public safety.
Keep an eye out for the Ambassadors around Lake Tahoe starting in June, and say hello. By working together, we can protect the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe for years to come.