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

Students from Boston Green Academy head to western Massachusetts and Martha's Vineyard.

BOSTON, MA | 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 Massachusetts and 26 other states across the country.

Starting this week, sophomores and juniors from Boston Green Academy will participate in this paid internship program. During their internships, which run through Aug. 2, the students will train for green jobs, visit college campuses and enhance their classroom education by participating in such conservation activities as stream surveys, floodplain forest restoration, forest health monitoring and invasive species control.

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 Boston Green Academy’s second year with the program.

“We’re excited and pleased to have students from Boston Green Academy participate in the LEAF program for the second year,” said Wayne Klockner, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts. “LEAF’s mission is to empower the next generation of conservation leaders, and we’re committed to offering these students immersion in nature and meaningful, hands-on experience with conservation work that we hope will do just that.”

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.

This year’s Massachusetts interns will split into two groups. Each will spend time on Martha’s Vineyard and in the Berkshires. Here are this year’s interns:

  • Aliyah Coren is a junior who’s a vegetarian and volunteers for the Boston-based nonprofit, Bikes Not Bombs.
  • Carenne Vasty Dirujuste is a sophomore who’s focused on getting A and B grades in school and wants to get involved in more outdoor activities.
  • Cache Johnson is a sophomore who’s interested in environmental justice and wants to start saving the planet by “by saving [her] neighborhood.”
  • Deric Martinez is sophomore who’s interested in the business side of things and likely will have his skateboard on hand this summer.
  • Jimmy Nguyen is a junior who spent last summer at City Spotlights, a performance-based internship program, where he learned how to sing, act and dance.
  • John Santiago is a junior who’s interested in mechanics and wants to make cars and airplanes more efficient.

“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

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

Contact information

Misty Edgecomb
Senior Media Relations Manager
The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts

James Miller
Media Relations Manager
The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts
(617) 532-8339

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