There’s a new crop of conservationists on the Island — albeit of an unexpected sort. Three students from Boston Green Academy, who have never spent much time outside the city, let alone gotten up close and personal with worms and frogs, have traveled to the Island for a paid monthlong internship with the Nature Conservancy.
During their internship the students will train for green jobs, visit college campuses and participate in conservation activities like removing invasive species, maintaining trails, raising native plants and caring for shorebird nesting areas.
The students, Alexandrine Vilson, Daniel Felix and Erikka Blackstone, are all members of the Nature Conservancy’s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program, which seeks to engage urban youth in conservation activities and encourages them to become stewards of the environment.
Ms. Vilson said she is interested in a career in medicine, and is intrigued by the connections between nature and the development of new treatments for cancer and other diseases. Mr. Felix sees a future in engineering and is interested in developing new solutions to air pollution and other urban challenges. And Ms. Blackstone said wants to be a businesswoman, and sees the connection between Boston’s environment and its economic success. Excited to be away from home for the first time, Ms. Blackstone said she’s looking forward to developing a new view on the world. “People have always stated that there’s more to life than what I see around me, but there will never be a better story that being able to tell it on my own,” she said.
The LEAF program serves approximately 20,000 students throughout the United States; this is the first year that students have traveled to the Vineyard as part of the program. They will remain on-Island through August 3. More information on the program is available at nature.org/LEAF.