Last summer, three high school juniors from New York City set off for an adventure in the Wild West. Yep, that’s right. For those who live in beautiful Washington state, it’s easy to forget how vast, remote and stunning this place can be. To urban newcomers Khadijah Michael, Tiana Cruz and Tiffany Smith, all 17, it was a wild wonderland.
The three young women, selected as prestigious LEAF interns, were placed in Washington to work on our Port Susan Bay Preserve right alongside scientists.
Last July, Conservancy supporters, staff and friends watched as the girls grew into true conservation youth leaders. They helped restore native salmon populations in Puget Sound. Tiana was featured in a video about salmon protection which you can view on YouTube. They visited local colleges, experienced campfire and hiked with Washington’s Next Generation young professional group. See a photo slideshow.
They returned to the big city with new confidence, skillsets and memories. We wanted to check back in on our 2011 interns and their future plans.
Tiana will be attending Florida Gulf Coast University next fall on a full tuition scholarship. She continues to work with The Nature Conservancy. You can read more about her attendance at Disney’s Kids and Nature Celebration earlier this year. Continuing on a conservation track, she’ll be completing a rigorous NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) course this July where she’ll learn survival and leadership skills in Alaska.
When 17-year-old Tiffany Smith was accepted into The Nature Conservancy’s summer internship program, she wrote: “I expect this internship to change my life.” It did just that. Tiffany is the valedictorian of her senior class and will attend Mercy College as an honors student. She received 10 (yes, 10!) awards for excellence at her recent senior class awards ceremony.
Khadijah has been preparing for graduation after a fantastic senior year at Prospect Heights High School in Brooklyn, New York. She looks forward to attending the College of Staten Island in the fall.
We congratulate each of our 2011 LEAF interns on their high school graduations! We look forward to following their success throughout the years and are so proud of each of them.
For the first time ever, LEAF has expanded to serve students from the West Coast. We’re thrilled to announce that four young men from Tacoma’s Science and Math Institute are our 2012 LEAF interns! They’ll experience the wet coastal rainforests at our Ellsworth Creek Preserve and the dry arid lands of our Moses Coulee Preserve.
During the course of their four-week internship, these students will participate in various conservation and restoration activities. Look out for our July 2012 LEAF blog and meet the four fine fellows soon. You won’t want to miss this.