For the month of July, The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island welcomed three summer interns and their mentor from Atlanta, Georgia as part of the Conservancy’s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) Program.
For the fourth year, Rhode Island participated in the LEAF Program, which has been working for 18 years to make a difference for our most precious resources—children and nature. The Program partners with environmentally themed high schools to provide students with first time opportunities to leave their urban areas to live, work, and play in the natural world. Students are divided into teams and paired with professional mentors for a four-week field season. They work alongside Conservancy staff across the country to protect and restore habitat while learning about careers in conservation. In addition to completing four paid work weeks, they also visit three colleges and enjoy first time recreational activities on the weekend such as hiking, kayaking, and swimming. The goal of the LEAF program is to empower the next generation of conservationists and equip them with the skills and knowledge to address our world’s most pressing environmental challenges.
The LEAF program has been able to expand with a $3.1 million dollar grant from the Toyota USA Foundation. This summer, 100 students from eight cities worked on nature preserves across the country. Next year we are hopeful that Rhode Island’s own Central Falls High School will be added to the participating schools list.
As to the impact of this amazing program – over the last 17 years 34 percent of the participants have ended up studying and/or working in the environmental field!
So what did the students from this year's LEAF summer internship program think about their experience on Block Island? Find out from The Block Island Times.