Adventure Athlete, Youth Leadership Award Selections Announced

We’re pleased to announce the official selections for our 2016 Adventure Athlete and Youth Leadership Awards.

Caroline Gleich, Pavel Cenkl and KT Miller were named as Official Selections in the Adventure Athlete category for their efforts to connect their recreational pursuits to conservation issues around the globe.

In the Youth Leadership category, Alfonso Orozco, Anthony “Chako” Ciocco, Elizabeth Case, Rachel Woods-Robinson, and Michelle Piñon were recognized for their distinguished work as young leaders within their communities.

The SHIFT Awards, which will be announced at the 2016 SHIFT Festival October 13-15 in Jackson, WY, recognize individuals, initiatives, or organizations that make innovative, impactful, and replicable contributions to conservation through human-powered outdoor recreation.

Today’s official selections complement the 33 nominees selected earlier this year in seven other categories: Non-Profit Leadership, Business Leadership, Public Land-Management Innovation, Technology and Youth Engagement.

Today’s selections are invited to participate in the SHIFT Summit as part of our Marketplace, which showcases on-the-ground work that is successfully meeting challenges in communities around the country.


ADVENTURE ATHLETE: This award recognizes an adventure athlete who is also serving as an ambassador for responsible recreation, access, or conservation leadership.

Caroline Gleich

Location: Salt Lake City, UT

Caroline Gleich

Caroline Gleich

Synopsis: Caroline Gleich is a professional ski mountaineer out of Salt Lake City, Utah, who is an ambassador for the Winter Wildlands Alliance. Caroline has recently appeared in the film Chasing Shadows, along with profiles in Powder, Backcountry, and Freeskier magazines, among others. From her nomination, Caroline writes, “I strive to use my platform as an athlete to inspire people to live a healthy, active lifestyle and to become informed, active citizens. I want to delve beyond the superficial and engage people on issues of human rights and environmental responsibility. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not always a linear course. My work leverages outdoor recreation for conservation gains by leading conversations about issues on social media and asking people to act, by going to schools to talk to thousands of students about climate change, by working with companies who care about environmental responsibility and by showing up to important legislative hearings, protests and rallies.”

Pavel Cenkl, Climate Run

Location: Craftsbury Common, VT

Synopsis: Pavel Cenkl is the Associate Dean and Athletic Director at Sterling College in Vermont. In 2015 Pavel ran 250 km across Iceland to reframe the conversation about climate change, focusing on resilience rather than resistance in response to the growing crisis. With Climate Run, Pavel has spoken with hundreds of people in the United States and Europe to promote his mission in advance of a 2017 Climate Run. From his application, “Climate Run is about how can we make thoughtful choices and intentional changes that can contribute to large-scale transformations in how we think about and how we get out and explore this world we share. By leveraging media attention on ultrarunning adventures like my 2015 run across Iceland, I am able to build community and have constructive dialogue with students, athletes, outdoor enthusiasts, and other key stakeholders about the role of resilience and vulnerability in our relationship to the environment.”

KT Miller

Location: Cooke City, MT

Synopsis: KT Miller is a professional skier featured in the documentary Shifting Ice + Changing Tides, an all-female skiing and sailing expedition from Iceland to Greenland to highlight the effects of climate change. As a professional athlete for Dynafit, LowePro, and Winter Wildlands Alliance KT specializes in human powered adventure. Each fall KT spends a few months working in the Arctic with Polar Bears International as a media specialist, troubleshooting wireless internet on the tundra, photographing polar bears, and hosting the worlds leading polar bear and climate scientists for large digital outreach initiatives. From her application: “My passion as a professional athlete and social media influencer is to inform and inspire action on conservation issues, mainly climate change, but also local Greater Yellowstone conservation issues regarding land use, wildlife, and natural resources. I try to provide captivating information and images that inspire education and action on these conservation issues.”

YOUTH LEADERSHIP: This award recognizes an individual under 30 who is promoting recreation for conservation gains.

Alfonso Orozco

Location: Jackson, WY

Synopsis: Alfonso Orozco is the Wyoming Regional Coordinator for Latino Outdoors. The mission of Latino Outdoors is to bring cultura into the outdoor narrative and connect Latino communities and leadership with nature and outdoor experiences. Alfonso is also a member of the inaugural ‘Outdoor 30 Under 30’, created to recognize influencers in the outdoor world under 30 years old. From his application, “That is when i joined Latino Outdoors, to be able to share my experience, story, and voice with other Latino communities to embolden and empower them to get outdoors.  Creating opportunities positive experiences builds a foundation. From that foundation I can add naturalist place based knowledge, education on environmental ethic, and develop skills for participants to stay engaged as stewards of the land. In this way we not only increase the quality of life of the individual but also increase the number of people who are caring for the environment with a diversity of voices.”

Anthony “Chako” Ciocco

Location: San Fidel, NM

Anthony 'Chako' Cioccio

Anthony ‘Chako’ Ciocco

Synopsis: Anthony “Chako” Ciocco leads the Ancestral Lands program on the Navajo Nation under Conservation Legacy’s Southwest Conservation Corps. The Ancestral Lands Program works to redefine conservation corps program models to meet the needs and aspirations of Indigenous communities. Anthony has worked to secure funding through the North Face Explore Fund, as well as a partnership with the Access Fund to engage Native communities in both outdoor recreation and stewardship projects. From his application: “It is often times challenging to bring together very, very, diverse groups to complete our recreation and conservation project work.  Ancestral Lands works with the core of our traditional Native communities, which is far outside the norm of the common conservation community and culture.  It takes extra work to bridge cultural barriers, deal with socio-economic differences, and reach common visions.”

Instagram: @dtuh_go_ja

Elizabeth Case and Rachel Woods-Robinson, Cycle for Science

Location: San Francisco, CA

Synopsis: Elizabeth Case and Rachel Woods Robinson founded Cycle for Science to bring science outreach to underserved communities by bicycle. From April to July 2015, they rode their bicycles 3500 miles from San Francisco to New York City, stopping in 10 different schools and camps across America, reaching 1,000 students ages 4-17. The Cycle for Science lesson is currently being integrated into the Lending Library at Cornell’s xRaise, an NSF-funded science outreach program. From their application: “We chose to focus specifically on a solar energy to encourage students to think about where their energy comes from, what it costs, and how they could change their habits to reduce their energy consumption. We also wanted them to start to see their role in the future of our planet: we need more policy makers, more scientists, and more advocates pushing renewable energy forward. As women in science, we also hoped to serve as role models and share the reasons science fascinates us — it’s impactful, creative and relevant.”

Michelle Piñon

Location: Seattle, WA

Synopsis: Michelle is the Seattle Regional Coordinator for Latino Outdoors. The mission of Latino Outdoors is to bring cultura into the outdoor narrative and connect Latino communities and leadership with nature and outdoor experiences. Michelle leads monthly events as a volunteer, including kayaking, snowshoeing, sailing, indoor rock climbing, and hiking. Like Alfonso, Michelle is also a member of the inaugural ‘Outdoor 30 Under 30’, created to recognize influencers in the outdoor world under 30 years old.From her nomination, Graciela Cabello, National Director of Latino Outdoors writes, “Michelle leads outdoor recreation events in the Pacific Northwest that provide outdoor experiences and connections to nature that otherwise may not have been possible. Many visit parks or forests for the first time. These positive experiences can be transformational in building the next generation of stewards and conservationists. They create new advocates.”


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