Photo © Bill Keown
MINNEAPOLIS — This summer, high school and college students from the East will help restore one of The Nature Conservancy’s most important preserves in the Midwest. Four high school students from New York and New Jersey will work side by side with two college students from Illinois and New York to help the Conservancy manage land at its Weaver Dunes Preserve, which is located along the Mississippi River near Kellogg, Minnesota.
They will help harvest native grass and wildflower seeds and assist with prairie restoration at this sandy preserve, which is home to one of the nation’s most significant populations of rare Blanding’s turtles. They also will assist the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources with a survey of the preserve for snakes including bull snakes and hognose snakes.
"I'm impressed about how much these young people are able to accomplish," said Toni Aguilar, Field Steward for The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota. “Our LEAF and GLOBE interns work incredibly hard and are a tremendous help to us in protecting our lands and waters.”
The high school students are part of the Conservancy’s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) Program. LEAF strives to give urban teens a personal experience in nature and empower the next generation of conservation leaders. Since 1996, LEAF has inspired scores of teens to learn more about conservation and launch careers in science and conservation. The Nature Conservancy gratefully acknowledges Toyota USA Foundation for its generous support of the LEAF program in Minnesota. This is the first time that LEAF students have been based in Minnesota.
If time allows, LEAF interns will also spend a day or two at Leif Mountain Preserve, a gravel hill prairie west of Paynesville, Minnesota.
The college students are part of the Conservancy’s Growing Leaders on behalf of the Environment (GLOBE) Program, which is designed to attract talented and diverse college and university students and provide them with a mentor who can provide them with a high-quality experience so they can acquire additional skills and training. The goal is reach students from all around the world, contributing to the diversity, size, and effectiveness of the global conservation workforce.
GLOBE interns are also helping with controlled burns and removing invasive plants including leafy spurge and Canadian thistle at additional preserves in Minnesota.
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In Minnesota, the Conservancy has helped protect more than 650,000 acres since 1958. Visit The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota on the Web at nature.org/minnesota.
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 www.nature.org.
Chris Anderson, The Nature Conservancy