Tuesday, August 14, 2012
I recently had the opportunity to work alongside interns participating in The Conservancy's LEAF program, and it was a fantastic experience. I have worked with high school interns in the past, but these ladies were exceptional in my eyes. Their passion to learn and experience new things started from the moment they got here and continued till the very end. After being together for an entire month straight, you might guess that their motivation would drop or their attitudes would take a turn for the worse, but not these stellar individuals! Not only were they a joy to be around and work with, but they also taught me a thing or two.
I remember back to when I was in high school and moving on to college, and how much I looked up to people with jobs just like I have now. That thought, at first, made me a little nervous, thinking that these girls would be looking up to me as a role model. I felt a little bit of pressure, but after spending just one day with them, all my nerves subsided. I began to realize that they enjoyed being around me because I love what I do, both inside and outside of work. It was great to share with them, not only my beloved world of conservation and stewardship, but also life lessons and valuable ethics.
I think the LEAF program has done a tremendous job in allowing The Nature Conservancy to expose these young adults to the importance of being stewards of the land. Even though these beautiful women may not go into Environmental fields in the future, they will at least go ahead in life with the knowledge and values they learned through their experience with this program.
I enjoyed every second I had with all four LEAF interns and their mentor, so much so that I managed to sneak down to southern New Hampshire and work with them a few days, and even spent some of my off time with them! They are all going to go on and do great things, and as I told them, they may even end up being my boss someday. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to work with the LEAF program and would love to be able to do so again in the future.
GOOD LUCK LADIES!
Northern New Hampshire Field Office
The Nature Conservancy
Friday, August 10, 2012
What a wonderful experience New Hampshire was! I can’t say it enough, but I really am grateful to have been able to take part in the LEAF program. I’ve learned so much, I’m surprised my brain hasn’t gone on overload, ha ha. There was just so much to take in; so much to be educated on. On our drive to NH, I remember staring out the window and just seeing trees. Driving back to NY, I see all different kinds. I saw tons of trees I’ve already learned about, and even more I need to learn about. My eyes are definitely opened. I also scream out the names of invasive species when I see them. :P
|Build that bridge!|
I met great, amazing people in NH. I could never forget Wink, Lisa, Andrew, and Megan! They played such a huge role in our stay here and it just would not have been the same without them. I met some other awesome people as well, such as Krista and Daryl. These kind people, who have such an immense passion for what they do, have affected me, not just in the work field, but have taught me lessons in life, that I know I’ll be carrying with me forever. I will never forget all those nights we gazed at the beautiful night sky and saw shooting stars, the bonfire, the game of Spoons played at the cabin in Pittsburg with Wink, Lisa, Sara, and my fellow interns, building a bridge with Andrew, counting spat with Kara and Ray, CANOPY ZIPLINING (too cool!), pulling invasive species, ICE CREAM, and swimming everywhere, but in an actual swimming pool (I wouldn’t have it any other way).
|So much beauty...|
Sara said that if you’re really missing everyone and everything, then you must have had a great time (Well… She said something like that, but I totally butchered it), which I definitely did (in case you couldn’t tell ha ha). I loved every moment, and I’ll cherish every memory! Our final goodbye was teary and heart-wrenching, but I know it’s temporary. This is not “goodbye”, simply a “see you again.”
-Sharon Peter August 4, 2012
Thursday, August 9, 2012
|Exploring the mud...|
These past few weeks in New Hampshire has been one of the best experiences that I have ever had. I don’t think I have ever made so many meaningful memories and learned so many new things in such a short period of time. There is a saying that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Clearly, this saying does not apply to New Hampshire. What happened in NH this summer will stay with me forever. The life lessons and skills that I have learned here will be useful throughout my life. The memories that I have made here will become life stories that I will retell over and over again. I will always remember and admire the people that I have met on this journey. They all shared a passion and love for their jobs that has encouraged me to chase after my own dreams as well. There has been so much that I have gained from this experience and so much more I hope that this experience can help me gain in the future.
|Live free or die, baby!|
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody that has followed this blog. Knowing that there were readers out there who were interested in what we were doing really encouraged me to work even harder. Hopefully, reading this blog also encouraged other people to step up and do something about the environment. While this might be the end of my journey as a LEAF intern, for me this is just the beginning. The LEAF program and TNC was my introduction to this field of work. Now I will rely on myself and everything that I have learned from this experience to move forward.
~Jessica Chen 08/03/2012
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
|What is that?|
There are no words that I know that can describe this experience…and yet there are many. Too many for me to describe all the things we’ve been through, I guess. And, to be honest, I’m having a hard time writing this. Before now (before the ride back to NYC), I kept thinking of all the things I would put down and reminisce about in our final entry, but now that I’m doing it, I’m just not sure how I could describe all the new things that have happened.
How can I describe the great expanse of stars on a clear New Hampshire night? There is a stunning sense of clarity when you stare up at the twinkling orbs set before you. The intense inability to speak as you lean back to get a better look. That distinct twinge in your neck that tells you that you’re going to have a sore neck if you don’t take a break. And then the feeling of awe at seeing a shooting star. How can I describe ziplining to someone who’s never felt that same thrill? With the wind tearing at you as you soar through the trees. The feeling of flight as you come so close to the trees but never touch them.
|Bridge building success.|
So, instead of saying goodbye to New Hampshire, I’m going to say see you soon. I don’t doubt that I’ll be back again. I can’t wait to see what new adventures await me in the future, and I can smile knowing that New Hampshire will be a part of it.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
|Daniela has no mercy for invasives!|
There is no way I can compile a month of experiences into a few simple paragraphs. I have crossed many things off my bucket list in this short span of time. I met the most down-to-earth people and I will certainly miss all of the New Hampshire TNC staff. All I can say now is thank you. I would repeat any part of this trip in a heartbeat whether that meant carrying wood into the forest or roasting marshmallows. I am just so thankful for this opportunity. It is one of the best experiences in my life and it has assured me that conservation will play a role in my life regardless of my career choice. My only wish now is that the program would have been a billion times longer.
|On the border...|
-Daniela Escobar August 3, 2012
Monday, August 6, 2012
|It's not goodbye - just, "see you later!"|
As you can probably imagine, we spend a lot of time planning for our time with the LEAF interns. What tasks do we think they can handle? How do we divide the work up? Where do we do it? What about the weather? Do we have the tools? Where should they stay? What extracurricular things can we do? We spend a lot of time looking at work plans and spreadsheets, making sure that we've figured out exactly how we're going to shape their experience here in New Hampshire.
I, for one, never gave a thought to how they may shape mine.
Jessica has such a silent stealth about her - you can almost see the cogwheels turning in her head as she contemplates the task at hand. Being the youngest of the group and from a different school, she tended to be the quietest - for a short while. But quiet never meant disengaged. On the contrary, Jessica would soak up everything around her - all the information she could - and then blindside you with an idea or talent. She's a whiz with tools and really showed her stuff building a bridge in Sheldrick Forest. During an exercise with me developing interpretive signage, she quietly sketched out her ideas on paper while the rest of us spoke aloud a list of thoughts. Samantha happened to look down at Jessica's doodling hand and say "Hey! Jess has it all figured out!" And indeed she had. In that moment she reminded me a lot of myself at that age, and I felt so much excitement for her knowing that she'd grow up to do great things.
Samantha is a born leader. I adore that she oozes a sense of self-confidence that isn't overbearing. She knows what she loves and what she wants. Her sense of humor is wildly intact and she loves to chat about anything and everything. Although this is her second year as a LEAF intern (spending last year in New Jersey), I think that didn't take away from the awe and magic she felt being here. Every experience - from eating at the Buck Rub Cafe in Pittsburg to exploring Plymouth State with the Master Key - she retells with energy and excitement. Sam will make an incredible scientist one day, and one that TNC would be foolish not to hire. I just hope she invites me to visit in Hawai'i when she's doing her volcano research. =)
Daniela melts my heart. She clearly absorbed every experience she had here and incorporated it into her sense of self. She is extremely thoughtful about every situation. Ask her a question, and her answer will always come so beautifully constructed with thought and emotion. It's that emotional range, and her fearlessness to show it, that really caught me by the heartstrings. I could tell that New Hampshire had moved her in such a profound way. You could watch the changes in her happen right before your eyes. It has been incredibly rewarding to watch. Daniela has a bit of an old soul in her, which she couples will a fabulous sense of humor. She spent much of last night's farewell dinner fighting back the tears. When you ask her what the hardest part of being in New Hampshire has been, she'll say one word: "leaving".
Sharon is the light that shines over the whole group. Her happiness is downright infectious. Every single moment of every single day is a marvel. She has an unstoppable determination. Sharon will never be a person who says "I can't". I don't think it's in her blood. She will try nearly anything. Before New Hampshire, Sharon had never been in a kayak. We plopped her in a boat, handed her a PFD and a paddle and let her have at it. That girl is a natural. She piloted that kayak like she'd done it for years. Sure, she plowed into Daniela and Jessica's canoe a few times, but that's power for the course. =) When building the bridge at Sheldrick, she aced figuring out how to cut the angular boards. Not figuring it out wasn't ever an option for her. Sharon's love for life and family inspires me. She's one of those people that you just want to be around. She lifts the room. And the best part? She's just so darn humble about it. Just watch out if you're ever out to dinner with her. This gal loves the spice. Don't believe me?
Sara is such a marvelous mentor. She advises and encourages in such an inviting and engaging way. She is able to be a dear friend to each intern but still maintain her authority as the leader. She's thoughtful and kind in every task, truly diving in right alongside the interns. Having been a mentor to a crew in New Hampshire in 2010 really helped her to be comfortable with the land and the work to be done. I think that Sara was just as surprised with how these interns shaped her as well. Speaking with her, I could understand that this experience has truly changed and inspired her. We cross our fingers that Sara will return next year with our new crop of LEAFers.
Some of the TNC staff took the interns to a farewell the night before their departure. We spent hours laughing and telling stories of our adventures. Tears were shed across the table as we realized this would be that last time - at least for a little while - that'd we'd all be together like this. But we knew we'd see each other again. Maybe that time will be next fall, when any one of them could be a freshman at the University of New Hampshire. We couldn't think of a greater reward than their return to make a difference yet again in the Granite State.
Over the next few days you'll see final posts from each of the interns. They have a lot of thoughts they want to share before heading off on their next great adventure!
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Last night we had the pleasure of taking the LEAF interns out for a little fun at the ballpark. We enjoyed our chicken fingers and pretzels while watching the NH Fisher Cats WIN!
It's hard to believe tomorrow is LEAF's last full day in New Hampshire. They have so much left to say before it's over, so stay tuned!