Oscar Psychas

Youth Council Member

Oscar, a rising freshman at Middlebury College, hails from Gainesville, Florida. He is committed to empowering young people to explore and advocate for Florida’s threatened wild places.

The son of a Finnish mother and American father, he has spent his much of his childhood in West Africa. Though he has been a lifelong nature lover, Oscar was compelled to become a conservationist after witnessing the cycle of environmental degradation and poverty AS A child in Ghana. After moving back to Florida for high school, he soon became an avid explorer of the swamps, pine woods, and rivers of his birthplace. Oscar founded and led the Seventh Generation, a club that has connected teens with Florida’s environment and the challenges it faces through hikes, cleanups, and tree planting projects. The club worked with local conservation groups to plant over 4,800 native longleaf pine and wiregrass seedlings and to remove thousands of pounds of trash from local waterways.

In 2016 Oscar began a gap year before starting at Middlebury College as an Environmental Geography Major. He learned that Florida's legislature had consistently underfunded bipartisan land conservation programs, even after a constitutional ballot initiative showed overwhelming public support. Oscar embarked upon the “Walk for Wild Florida, “ a solo 280-mile HIKE from his home to Florida's state capitol to draw attention to the plight of Florida's wild places and pressure the state legislature to fully fund land conservation programs in the upcoming session. Through social media, op-eds, and features in local media, the campaign encouraged Floridians to contact their state legislators in support of conservation programs`. Oscar continued his gap year assisting bird conservation efforts in rural Mongolia.

In his free time, Oscar enjoys travel, reading, and camping in the Florida backwoods with family and friends. As a rising freshman at Middlebury College, Oscar plans to major in Environmental Geography. He plans to launch the Seventh Generation as a wider network of student groups engaging young people as explorers, stewards, and advocates for the natural world. Oscar is honored to continue working with EarthEcho and the YLC.