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PennFuture’s newly launched “Advocates for Conservation and the Environment” (ACE) program is a non-partisan project that organizes teams of volunteers to educate state and federal legislators about conservation and environmental issues. Now, more than ever, the public needs to engage in the democratic process to shape policies that protect our environment and safeguard public health. The ACE program provides citizens the opportunity for precisely this kind of democratic engagement.
Few representatives have the time or expertise to fully understand the implications of all the policies on which they may eventually take a position. ACE volunteers provide policy makers with an opportunity to learn from concerned citizens who live in their respective districts about environmental and public health issues affecting their communities, families, wildlife, and the environment.
Through statewide and ongoing in-district meetings between citizen-advocates and their legislators, the ACE program is designed to build the environmental community’s power in Pennsylvania. An in-district meeting is a grassroots, non-partisan effort to build and reinforce relationships with federal and state representatives.
Importantly, ACE teams meet with Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, to promote policy, not partisanship. In this way, the ACE program is an extraordinarily effective way to empower citizens with the tools to engage decision makers in their communities while cultivating a sense of ownership in PennFuture’s mission.
Here’s how the program works. PennFuture schedules ACE meetings for volunteers. Then, volunteers meet with other local ACE volunteers and a PennFuture coordinator at a convenient location for a brief strategy session to review local issues, talking points, and a few guidelines to follow regarding meeting with legislators. Finally, ACE teams meet with their legislator in his or her local district office to express their concerns and to help shape policies that protect you, your family, and the environment for generations to come.
For additional information about the ACE program, or if you’re interested in becoming an ACE volunteer, please click here.