Khadijah Michael, 17.
The Nature Conservancy’s LEAF program isn’t just about conservation; it’s about encouraging interns to grow through new experiences, responsibilities and challenges.
During their four-week internship, our LEAF interns have been staying in dorms at Skagit Valley College. They have to cook for themselves, clean up after themselves and manage their own budget. With no connection to the internet, no cell phones and no Facebook (it’s “painful,” they say), they’ve had to find new ways to spend their time.
Most everything they’re doing is new, from cooking new meals, to touring colleges and trying horseback riding. Here are some recent dispatches from their weekends and free time:
On this day we visited Western Washington University in Bellingham. The campus is big. The tour was 90 minutes long. After the tour we went to a drive-in burger place called Boomers and we drove around Bellingham. It was a great experience. Later that day we went to a “Cool Stuff Sold Here” store and did some drawing. For dinner Khadijah and I cooked fried chicken with corn on the cob and deviled eggs. —Tiffany Smith
After completing chores such as laundry and vacuuming, we headed over to Barbara’s house for dinner. Barbara is volunteer coordinator for The Nature Conservancy. We were able to meet her son Niko and her cat Moose. We had an amazing dinner of chicken, potatoes, rice and string beans. Later Niko introduced us to ladder ball, a fun but hard game. After the game we ate some pie and ice-cream and played a game of Scatorgories. Everyone agreed that they never laughed so hard before. Unfortunately the day had to come to an end as we said our goodbyes and headed home.
On this day we did photo monitoring with scientist Kit Crump at Port Susan Bay Preserve. It was an easy day. Later that evening we went horseback riding with Joelene. It was fun and very interesting. Khadijah’s horse was the greediest; Tiana’s horse was the laziest; Erin’s horse was the sweatiest; Joelene’s horse was the biggest, and mine was the happiest. After an hour of horseback riding we went to Red Robin for dinner. As soon as we got home it was bedtime. —Tiffany Smith
New York residents Tiffany Smith, Tiana Cruz and Khadijah Michael are spending three weeks in Washington as part of The Nature Conservancy’s LEAF program, which provides paid internships to high school youth. You can read about their adventures in this daily updated blog.