By Chloe Bennett
Jenna Audlin loves everything about the outdoors. When she’s not at school or working at Paul Smith’s College Butterfly House, Audlin is exploring the Adirondack environment or writing about it. In April, the high school sophomore completed an activity book based on the Adirondacks’ flora and fauna. She plans to self-publish it through Amazon.
“Explore More” is an activity book with templates for hiking logs, tips for responsible recreation and other projects inspired by Audlin’s move to the Adirondacks at age 14. Designed as a workbook, the project includes writing prompts, like favorite parts of hikes, and space for drawing. On one page, children are encouraged to illustrate scenes from the park and take notes while on the trail.
“I wanted to put this together so that when other kids moved here, it would be a lot easier for them to learn about it,” she said.
On the surface, Audlin said, the Adirondack environment seemed similar to her home near Denver, but a closer inspection opened up new species and habitats previously unknown to her.
“I’m still learning all the deciduous trees and some of the different animals that live here and it’s really fun to learn about,” Audlin said.
Audlin, a sophomore at Saranac Lake High School, is part of a generation committed to advancing awareness of the environment and environmental issues. Teenagers are more likely to talk about climate change and spread awareness online than other generations, a 2021 Pew Research Center study shows. Generation Z also took more individual action against climate change, including protesting, donating, volunteering or contacting elected officials, according to the report.
“Compared with older adults, Gen Zers and Millennials are talking more about the need for action on climate change; among social media users, they are seeing more climate change content online; and they are doing more to get involved with the issue through activities such as volunteering and attending rallies and protests,” the Pew report says.
Climate movements led by young people have led to more awareness and even legislation proposals, such as the Sunrise Movement’s push for the Green New Deal, which is a set of policies aimed at climate change mitigation
“Each effort to educate youth on this topic is crucial, because they immediately see how their lives—their whole lifetimes—will be dominated by this crisis, and they want to go to work,” writer and activist Bill McKibben told the Explorer last year.
Audlin’s admiration for the environment motivated her to get to work on educating others about the Adirondacks. Her most recent project is the second installment of her nature activity books. In 2015, she co-authored a similar outdoor guide with the Evergreen Nature Center in Colorado. She has plans to publish more children’s books in the future. In the meantime, she’s reading fantasy fiction like “Harry Potter” and nature nonfiction by anthropologist Jane Goodall.
Audlin said plans to host book events and shelve her new project with Saranac Lake stores The Book Nook, The Village Mercantile and Academy & Main in Hotel Saranac.