Summer Program Helps Prepare NYC Youth and City for Future Environmental Challenges

The Nature Conservancy launches their 2nd annual New York City-area Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) Program

New York, NY | July 06, 2015

The Nature Conservancy, one of world’s leading conservation organizations, is launching their 2nd annual New York City-area Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) Program, an initiative aimed at helping to preserve and build green infrastructure, including tree and forests, while engaging and preparing urban youth for environmental leadership positions.

The program, now in its 21st year, is part of the Conservancy’s growing work to help manage some of the climate change challenges faced by cities across the US. Recent studies show that investments in green infrastructure and leadership training can help communities better prepare for the future impacts of climate change while making local cities healthier and cleaner.

“The main goal of the LEAF program is to expose urban youth to nature and conservation careers at a young age to nurture a passion for the environment which will stick with them both personally and professionally for the rest of their lives,” said Brigitte Griswold, Director of Youth Programs for The Nature Conservancy.  “Providing students with the opportunity to participate in actual conservation projects is a great complement to their environmental classroom learning and gives them hands-on experience they may not otherwise get during the school year.”

In support of these efforts, the LEAF program collaborates with the Conservancy’s nationwide Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities initiative to protect green infrastructure, including trees and forests. Healthy trees are a critical component of a city’s natural infrastructure and can help communities address some of their pressing environmental problems by contributing to sustainability and resilience, as well as helping to clean our air and water, providing shade and beautifying our neighborhoods.

The Nature Conservancy’s 12 NYC-area LEAF interns have been selected from local environmental high schools and will support this effort in two NYC boroughs, Queens and the Bronx, by collecting data on the health of NYC trees as part of the NYC Trees Count! Inventory, as well as collecting data in support of a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and NYC Parks study of trees directly impacted by Superstorm Sandy.

From NYC to San Francisco, the LEAF program provides paid jobs for students in nature in 11 cities across the nation while adding real-world experiences and training to their existing classroom experiences. This comprehensive environmental leadership program provides urban youth with an opportunity to work on conservation projects in 26 states.This year’s LEAF program in NYC is supported by Marriott International, Inc. as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to support innovative conservation initiatives, with additional support from the USFS, the Pinkerton Foundation and Stihl. National conservation activities created by LEAF and The Nature Conservancy's Youth Programs are made possible through support from Lowe's. Lowe’s has supported the Conservancy’s work for more than a decade, contributing more than $10 million to protect important freshwater and forest lands across North America and to advance environmental youth programs and help build the next generation of conservation leaders. Learn more about the students who LEAF serves, Lowe’s support, and this unique partnership model at

About The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

About Marriott International

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is a global leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, with more than 4,200 properties in 80 countries and territories.  Marriott International reported revenues of nearly $14 billion in fiscal year 2014. The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 19 brands.  For the latest company news, please visit To learn more about the company’s environmental goals and efforts please visit

About Lowe’s in the Community

Lowe’s, a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company, has a 50-year legacy of supporting the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. Since 2007, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together have contributed more than $225 million to these efforts, and for more than two decades Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers have donated their time to make our communities better places to live. To learn more, visit and

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Rachel Winters
The Nature Conservancy
(267) 210-2189


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