Looking Into the Future: Our Day Spent with Young Conservationists
As an organization whose mission involves protecting clean water and open space, we understand how valuable the national parks have been as a way to engage both current and future generations with the glorious outdoors. From lush forests to deserts the color of a sunset, these national treasures have served as a gateway to explore the rich national heritage we all share.
At the Brandywine Conservancy some of our favorite days are spent sharing our love for the Brandywine Valley with children and young adults.
Recently, in partnership with the National Park Service, the Brandywine Conservancy hosted LEAF interns (“Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future”) from The Nature Conservancy as they explored First State National Historic Park to learn about invasive species.
The LEAF internship program targets teenagers from urban communities who are interested in pursuing environmental careers. The interns spend four weeks gaining field work experience and learning how to become stewards of natural areas.
By learning about the value of native species – which are better equipped to thrive in our environment and provide vital food and habitat for local birds and animals – the members of the LEAF program will be able to amplify that message with their family, peers, and in their future work as conservationists.
The 20 interns spent the morning at First State National Historical Park in Delaware learning from Nora Reynolds, NPS intern, and Janet Ebert, local botanist, how to identify and control invasive plants (non-native species which threaten the overall integrity of the habitat). They also used GPS units to locate patches of invasive plants.
In the afternoon, the interns visited the Brandywine Conservancy to hear from Michele Gandy, GIS Specialist, how GIS (Geographic Information Systems) can be used in invasive plant management. Beth Burnam, Senior Planner for Natural Resources, and Edie Dondero, Associate Director for Land Stewardship, also spoke to the students about pursuing careers in land management, and Mark Gormel, Horticultural Coordinator, led them on a tour of our campus’ native plant gardens.
Today, as we celebrate the 100th birthday of our National Park Service, the staff of the Brandywine Conservancy hopes that by sharing our experiences and the tools we use to monitor, manage, and protect the Brandywine Valley’s natural resources, we are building a foundation for responsible stewardship that will last a lifetime for these future leaders of our community.
For more information about the Brandywine Conservancy visit us at: http://www.brandywine.org/conservancy. You can also visit our beautiful Laurels and Waterloo Mills preserves while supporting our conservation efforts by becoming a member today!