Friday, November 18, 2011

The Nature Conservancy: LEAF Program

The Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program provides paid summer internships for high school students and helps educators from environmental high schools share best practices and scientific resources. The long-term goal of LEAF is to support more than 30 environmental high schools across the country, ultimately serving over 20,000 students.

LEAF is an ambitious effort to empower the next generation of conservation leaders and equip them with the skills and knowledge to address our world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

With the support of the Toyota USA Foundation in 2011, LEAF will expand a nationally-recognized partnership model with environmental high schools to combine classroom lessons with real-world conservation work experience for urban youth.

The program works with a select group of environmental high schools, and provides paid summer internships for students in natural areas across the nation and helps educators from environmental high schools share best practices and scientific resources during the academic year.

The LEAF model:

• helps urban youth gain critical life, school and workplace skills;

• provides sustained exposure to nature; and

• supports students pursuing higher education opportunities and career paths in environmental fields.

The program marries The Nature Conservancy’s scientific expertise and access to natural areas with the lessons learned in environmental high schools to provide students with the web of mentors, alumni, and peers that is fundamental to successful youth development programs.

Supplementing classroom lessons on ecology and conservation with the real world experience of applying those lessons in the field has a tremendous impact on students’ lives — opening their eyes to career possibilities, building self confidence, independence, work skills, conservation literacy and a love of the outdoors.

For more information on LEAF, or to sponsor a student, please contact

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