Planet Forward hits milestone, celebrates Storyfest winners

Backstage at the auditorium where we hold the Planet Forward Summit there’s a photo of me, standing on stage for our very first Planet Forward event — filming a PBS special. The date on the image? March 31, 2009.

When I saw the date, I couldn’t believe it. At the time I don’t think I imagined standing up on the very same stage 10 years later, with hundreds of amazing students, storytellers, supporters, in the audience — and thousands more online.

I also couldn’t believe how much we, as a project, have changed. Planet Forward has evolved over the past decade — for the better.

Our network has grown — not just of expert storytellers, and the leaders at NGOs and companies doing their part for the planet — but of students from diverse regions, schools and backgrounds. And we’ve seen these students grow, blossom into professionals, and take what they’ve learned from us to their jobs.

If not for you, our Planet Forward family, we would not be here, together, 10 years later, telling the important stories of innovations and the innovators behind them working to help save our planet.

It’s these stories that we highlight at our annual Summit. And we reward the students who tell the best stories of the year with an extraordinary opportunity through the Planet Forward Storyfest competition.

This year, that reward is an expedition to the legendary and unique ecosystems of the Galápagos Islands with Planet Forward and Lindblad Expeditions, where they will report on the unparalleled stories found there.

We are so proud of the students who were selected as winners this year. They represent five different schools, and span from west to east coasts. Without further ado, the winners are:

Were you inspired at our event this year? Are you ready to join us? We need stories like these now, more than ever.

Students: If you want to be a correspondent email editor@planetforward.org with your resume.

Schools: Interested in joining the Planet Forward Consortium? Reach out to hannah@planetforward.org and we'll get the conversation started on how we can work with you!

Huge thanks to our partners and funders: Lindblad Expeditions, Bayer, Land O’Lakes, Inc., National Geographic, Discovery, Comcast, UN-FAO, World Food Program USA, TerraCycle, GW Office of Sustainability, Sweetgreen, Patagonia, Kleen Kanteen, Mrs. Green’s World, Island Press, The George Washington University School of Media & Public Affairs, and The Planet Forward Advisory Council.

To everyone who joined us: Thanks! We do this for you. Check out the stories and adventures online and in our social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

How do you move the Planet Forward? Tweet us @planet_forward or contribute to the conversation with your own story.