Three teens from the Environmental Charter School in Los Angeles spent a month working in Montana's Centennial Valley. The young men were part of the Conservancy's Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF). The three helped our science and stewardship staff with stream and forest restoration projects that will benefit the valley's remarkable wildlife. They collected plants and insects, froze their hands doing important stream surveys, and removed several miles of nasty, barbed wire fence that presented a big hazard for young deer and elk as well as Greater Sage-grouse. The remote valley is a long way from the excitement and hustle of urban, southern California...but these great guys were up for the challenge! Check out their victories (pdf)
Justice’s favorite pastime is skateboarding – something that is pretty challenging on the gravel roads of the Centennial Valley. But, he says that learning the tricks of the sport taught him the value of patience and hard work, the same traits that make for good conservation. He’s also praised as a great leader who has volunteered on trail restoration projects and made presentations on environmental issues to kids in elementary and middle schools.
Patrick is passionate about the drums, math, and acting. He was actually looking forward to spending an entire month without technology (screens, phones, ipods and other technology are not allowed during the LEAF internship). Patrick is praised for his leadership skills and commitment. He has worked on trail restoration in California, made videos about composting and water pollution and aspires to a 4.0 G.P.A. in his upcoming senior year.
Alfonso is a bright teen who loves science. Air and water pollution are the environmental issues that concerned him the most. His home is very near one of the world’s largest ports so he is directly affected by the gases emitted by thousands of trucks that pass the port hauling goods to market. He plans to become an environmental engineer, so may well develop solutions that will reduce these threats.
Mike Pack is the mentor who rode heard on this year’s team of interns. Mike teaches Environmental Horticulture at the Environmental Charter School, so was ready for the challenges of chopping sagebrush. But, it may have been his years on a Coast Guard ice breaker that really prepared him for a month in the remote Centennial Valley with three lively teens!
This is Brad's second year managing the LEAF program in Montana. It would be hard to find a better match than this native hawkeye. Brad is a Land Steward who has helped guide dozens of interns and volunteers with patience and humor as they wrangled rusted barbed wire, stood for hours in icy streams, and mastered the finer points of a cross cut saw. And he still manages to juggle a full schedule of field work, writing grants and reports, and putting miles on his boots and truck.