LEAF 2017 Recap

LEAF Program introduces both visiting and local Maryland teens to conservation career paths.

By Matt Kane and Severn Smith on August 24, 2017

Every July, urban high school students from The Nature Conservancy’s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program head out for summer work adventures to learn about careers in conservation.  This year for the first time, the Maryland program began extending the same opportunity to students in Western Maryland’s Allegany County, bringing them together with visiting students from New York City.

“Sometimes the best way to learn about possible careers in conservation is to just roll your sleeves up and try out the work for yourself, and we’re thrilled that we’re able to provide that opportunity to local students.” said TNC’s Resilient Forests Program Director, Donnelle Keech. “Many of Maryland’s healthiest forests are right here in Allegany County, and it will be up to the next generations to keep them that way.  The LEAF interns will not only learn about the hard on-the-ground work it takes to keep our forests healthy, but the vital role our elected officials play in that as well.”

Together, the group tried their hands at everything from trail maintenance to public advocacy.  This happened during trips to Cranesville Swamp, Bear Island in the Potomac Gorge, and Potomac Garrett State Forest, as well as numerous meetings with professionals and elected officials in both Cumberland, MD and DC’s Capitol Hill.  It was a packed couple of weeks, but provided the students with lots of great experiences, as you can see in the video below.


A special thanks to our two dedicated 2017 LEAF mentors – Andrea Arevalo and Lisa Thomas.

Learn More about LEAF

  • Watch Facebook Live interviews with the LEAF interns during an Advocacy Day visit to Capitol Hill.
  • Read the press release announcing Maryland's pilot program to extend LEAF opportunities to local Allegany County students.

Categories: LEAF, Environmental Education, Environmental Careers

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