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The Nature Conservancy Sends Students from around the Country to Nature Preserves for Summer Internships

Students from New York City high schools work on Connecticut nature preserves.


NEW HAVEN, CT | July 10, 2013

The Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest conservation organization, announced that students from its Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program are heading out for a great summer adventure to nature preserves in Connecticut and 26 other states across the country.

In Connecticut, students from three New York City high schools will participate in this paid internship program, which started this week and runs through Aug. 2. During their internships, the students are scheduled to train for green jobs, visit college campuses, and enhance their classroom education by participating in such conservation activities as creating habitat for the New England cottontail, removing invasive species and restoring an arboretum.

This is the 19th year of the LEAF Program and its mission of engaging urban youth in conservation activities now so that they will become stewards for our planet tomorrow. The program provides paid jobs for students on nature preserves around the country and enriches these experiences in the classroom by providing professional development opportunities to educators from green partner high schools. This is the third year The Nature Conservancy will host LEAF interns in Connecticut.

“Working with the next generation of conservation leaders is one of the most satisfying things we do at The Nature Conservancy, and that’s what LEAF is all about,” said Frogard Ryan, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “Through LEAF, we hope to introduce amazing young people to new career ideas, as well as helping build their conservation knowledge, self-confidence, independence, and work skills. We learn a lot from our interns along the way, too. The Connecticut Chapter is happy to be part of this.”

This comprehensive, environmental leadership program for teenagers and their educators serves students attending environmentally-themed high schools in urban areas including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Georgia, Colorado, Rhode Island, California, Washington, Illinois, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. The continued expansion of the LEAF program nationwide is due to leading support from the Toyota USA Foundation.

The four young women who will spend time at Devil’s Den and Katharine Ordway preserves in Weston and Sunny Valley Preserve in New Milford are:

  • Brianna Colon, Urban Assembly New York Harbor School. She thinks of nature as one big adventure that anyone can have and plans on becoming a biologist.
  • Denise Garcia, High School for Environmental Studies. She enjoys helping people in need and hopes to return from her internship with environmental experience and the ability to share her ideas and knowledge with others.
  • Tiffany Martin, High School for Environmental Studies. She plans on following a career in education related to the environment because educating tomorrow’s generation on the environment is one of the best ways to guarantee the planet’s future.
  • Emily Ruby, Stuyvesant High School. She wants to become a high school history teacher, who—like her history teacher—incorporates current environmental issues into the lessons.

“The main goal of the LEAF program is to expose urban youth to nature and conservation careers at a young age to nurture a passion for the environment that will stick with them both personally and professionally for the rest of their lives,” said Brigitte Griswold, Director of Youth Programs for The Nature Conservancy. “Providing students with the opportunity to participate in actual conservation projects on preserves is a great complement to their environmental classroom learning and gives them hands-on experience they may not otherwise get during the school year.”

Learn more about the students that LEAF serves, the Toyota USA Foundation and about this unique partnership model at www.nature.org/LEAF.


The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org

Contact information

James Miller
Media Relations Manager
The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut
(617) 532-8339
(857) 600-6603 (mobile)
james_miller@tnc.org

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