The Nature Conservancy Sends Students from around the Country to Nature Preserves for Summer Internships
Students from three New York City high schools gain conservation experience in Central and Western New York
Rochester, NY | July 16, 2013
He’s only in high school, but Sebastian Casusol is already planning his career. He wants to become a field biologist and study the biology or sociology of chimpanzees. To get some of the experience he needs, he will be working with The Nature Conservancy for four weeks this summer, as one of three LEAF interns heading to preserves across Central and Western New York.
The Nature Conservancy announced this week 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 New York and 26 other states across the country. These sophomores and juniors will train for green jobs, visit college campuses and enhance their classroom education by participating in such conservation activities as forest health monitoring and stream restoration.
For 19 years, LEAF has provided high-performing students from environmentally-themed high schools in urban areas with paid, residential career internships on nature preserves around the country and enriches these experiences in the classroom by providing professional development opportunities to educators from partner green high schools. The mission of the program is to engage urban youth in conservation activities now so that they will become stewards for our planet tomorrow.
Here are the LEAF interns visiting Central and Western New York through August 1:
- Sebastian Casusol attends the High School for Environmental Studies in New York City. He would like to eventually classify animal species and help discover new organisms.
- Anthony Fernandez attends Urban Assembly New York Harbor School in New York City. He has a goal of working with animals and incorporating environmental studies into his career.
- Justin Olmedo attends Academy for Environmental Leadership in Brooklyn, N.Y. A gardener and volunteer with his school’s Green Team, he is interested in a career in education but looking forward to LEAF expanding his career options.
“We are thrilled to have these three young adults spend part of their summer learning about our work,” said Jim Howe, The Nature Conservancy’s Central & Western New York director. “One of the most important things we can do is provide future generations with meaningful experiences in nature. We hope such experiences will shape their lives just as they have for many of us.”
During their four weeks in Central and Western New York, these students will engage in a variety of conservation-themed activities, including:
- Visiting an urban forest with a City Forester in Rochester (July 16)
- Assisting with trail work at Moss Lake and Frenchman’s Bluff in the Southern Tier (July 17)
- Learning to identify invasive species in the Eldrett Downybrook Bird Conservation Area in Jefferson County (July 18-23)
- Installing a “beaver deceiver” in the Tug Hill region that will allow beaver to continue to inhabit the area while water moves through their dam. (July 24-26)
- Building a bog boardwalk at the El Dorado Beach Preserve near Watertown to provide access to a wild section of the Eastern Lake Ontario coastline (July 29 – Aug 1)
This comprehensive, environmental leadership program now 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.
“In today’s increasingly urban and digital world, many young people are growing up without meaningful experiences in nature – a trend which poses a serious threat to the future of our world,” said Brigitte Griswold, Director of Youth Programs for The Nature Conservancy.
“LEAF exposes urban youth to nature and conservation careers at a young age to ensure a passion for the environment that will stick with them both personally and professionally for the rest of their lives.”
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.