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Meet the New Faces of Conservation

Immersed in nature for the first time, young women work in stunning outdoor classrooms across northwest Wyoming.

LEAF Memories 2013

See the students in action!


“I never thought I’d get to see a rodeo or a live bison. I almost stepped on a rattlesnake too, but it didn’t scare me.”

- Lyric West

Places They Visited
  • Heart Mountain Ranch Preserve
  • Tensleep Preserve 

Four teens from Georgia traded in summer break for a step toward their future…and into the wilds of big, wonderful Wyoming

The students are in The Nature Conservancy’s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program, a paid internship to empower the next generation of conservationists. 

Experiencing life on a Wyoming cattle ranch, the interns worked on the Conservancy’s Heart Mountain Ranch Preserve, learning rangeland ecology and environmental science firsthand. 

The urban teens rolled up their sleeves for invasive species removal, trail work, fencing modifications, and native seed and plant collection. 

“There’s a lesson in everything out here,” says Carrie Peters, who manages Heart Mountain Ranch Preserve with her husband Brian. 

“I never thought I’d get to see a rodeo or a live bison,” said student Lyric West. “I almost stepped on a rattlesnake too, but it didn’t scare me.” 

>> Explore More 2013 LEAF Stories

Taylor Crocker (second from left in the group photo above)

If you are the kind of person who thinks biochemical engineering is the ballet of the sciences, you have a condition known in LEAF Latin as cranium bigium. And Taylor suffers greatly from it. She wants to study biochemical engineering in college and she is also a ballet dancer. In fact, she spends most summers traveling to dance camps in New York, Florida and Alabama studying ballet, jazz and other forms of dance. And when she comes back, she is hunkers down to tackle the science-y part of what makes her uniquely Internvus Spectaculaire. Taylor loves swimming and is hoping her LEAF internship will put a spark back into her previous love of marine biology.

Darrah Mitchell (far right)

A star student who has been on the honor roll since two-thousand-and-forever, Darrah aspires to be a marine biologist. Did we mention she is the only rising junior in the Georgia program? Darrah is not new to getting her hands dirty. She talks fondly of a class trip to Tybee Island where she learned about marsh life, and where she got to dissect a squid. She has been scuba diving in the Caribbean and enjoys listening to R & B music. 

Lyric West (second from the right)

Oakhurst Gardens, Georgia Aquarium, Americorps. These are places Lyric has volunteered in order to feed her love of nature and animals. On the agriculture track at school, Lyric has done everything from creating a compost bin, to holding environmental presentations for 8th graders, to managing a garden, to being the only aquatic fisheries competitor for Future Farmers of America. Lyric is headed to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in August and is torn between studying forestry management and marine biology. When relaxing, she listens to dubstep and loves weaving wreaths out of long grass.

Jazmyne Stewart (far left)

One of the most seminal moments in Jazmyne’s life was touring the glaciers in Alaska. It made her understand the value and beauty of nature. Committed to her community and church, Jazmyne volunteers at both in her spare time. At school, she has a 3.5 GPA and cites English as her favorite subject. Jazmyne is keenly interested in becoming a nurse, specifically a pediatric nurse. Until a recent injury, she has played basketball ever since middle school. Described as a “born leader” by her teachers, Jazmyne loves spending time with her family and her toy poodle Biscuit and travelling. In fact, in August she is headed to vacation in Spain.

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