The Kentucky Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) interns, their last week in the Bluegrass State began with some adventure. After a tour of Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, and a trail ride outside of Lexington, they went zip lining through (and far above!) the tree canopy of the majestic Red River Gorge!
“It was not only beautiful scenery, but also a great way to finish off the last week in Kentucky,” says LEAF Mentor Natasha Koomen.
Then it was back to work for one more week. The last assignment entailed working with Louisville Grows, a local urban agriculture and urban forestry organization. At the Shippingport Memorial Garden – which houses a member-farmed area, a market garden, a fruit orchard and a natural children’s play area – the interns worked with advocacy- in-action coordinators Jared Zarantanello and Anna Kate McWhorter on weeding and maintaining the play area.
The interns were then deployed to help construct a wash station where gardeners could clean and dry produce.
“Building the wash station was no easy feat, as the plan called for it to be more than 20 feet long and over 6 feet tall with separate sections dedicated to different tasks,” adds Komen.
However, Jared and Anna Kate skillfully led the interns through the process of piecing out lumber, labeling marks for cutting the lumber and nailing pieces together once the lumber was safely cut.
"The whole process made me think about working in agricultural or environmental design one day," noted Kentucky LEAF intern Mealenea Homer.
The crowning event came when the group worked together to hoist and secure the corrugated steel roof to the top of the wash station – a great way to cap off of a job well done!
Later in the week, the LEAF interns celebrated the end of their internship with local partners from Brightside and Cadell Walker and Gerry James from the Conservancy’s Louisville office. Everyone enjoyed a warm, blissfully bug-free evening at sunset by river taking in live music at Louisville's monthly Waterfront Wednesdays. The group was delighted when the event’s emcee mentioned the importance of nurturing Louisville's tree canopy - one of the conservation issues the interns worked on in their very first week on the job.