By Kate Miley
The Nature Conservancy’s Chesapeake Bay Program motto is “Crossing Borders to Preserve the Bay.” This summer, our four new LEAF (Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future) interns will certainly cross borders as they head from big cities, including New York, to live, work and learn for a month in the Central Appalachians and Chesapeake Bay region.
LEAF Program Goals
Now in its 18th year, the LEAF internship program aims to connect today’s urban youth with nature so that they may
- Foster a lifelong affinity and respect for nature
- Prepare themselves for potential careers in conservation
- Enhance their classroom science, math, and technology education with field experience
- Nurture their senses of self-reliance and independence
- Grow to become the next generation’s environmental leaders
Alumni from the LEAF program, in fact, are well on their way to becoming environmental leaders. Notably, Josh Carrera from New York City has matriculated to the Conservancy’s GLOBE internship program and has been invited to attend the United Nations Rio+ 20 conference with a Conservancy delegation. (Read about Josh’s experience, featured in the New York Times.)
From July 9 to August 3, this year’s Chesapeake and Central Appalachian region LEAF interns — Nisi, Alondra, Sherryann, and Jennifer — will be traveling between West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland. Their projects will range from trail maintenance at Virginia's Warm Springs Mountain to grassland habitat restoration in Maryland.
In all, LEAF will send 100 students from 20 environmental high schools to 22 natural areas around the country. The interns are paid and provided with supervisors and mentors who lend support and ease the students' transition away from home and comfort zones. The LEAF experience would not be possible without the assistance of a $3.1 million grant from the Toyota Foundation.
In addition to their conservation duties, the interns will visit several universities and colleges in the area and enjoy outdoor activities such as canoeing, hiking and swimming.
The girls bring varied interests and talents to the group, and they are excited to start the program. Nisi says she looks forward to visiting colleges, while Alondra is excited to do both conservation and recreation activities in the water. Jennifer also would love to explore our area’s waterways (preferably via canoe), and Sherryann is looking forward to any outdoor sports.
We invite you to follow our four interns and share their discoveries, challenges and adventures. Bookmark this page to check for new stories below, and get regular updates when you join us on Facebook.
Travel along with the LEAF interns as they learn about rivers, mountains and themselves. Read post
Our intrepid LEAF interns wade into mountain rivers and scramble through the Potomac Gorge. View slideshow
Our 2012 LEAF interns plunge into the Cowpasture River for a hands-on introduction to conservation. Watch
Travel back one year ago and visit the Allegheny Highlands with our 2011 interns. Explore
Kate Miley is a GLOBE program intern for The Nature Conservancy in Virginia and Maryland/DC. Kate loves her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, and wants future generations to experience the same natural areas that she enjoyed as a kid.