LEAF at Third Thursday in Pittsfield MA
by Annalena Barrett
Third Thursday is a monthly street festival that takes place in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. We picked a swelteringly hot day to attend, but luckily we had three fabulous LEAF interns and their mentor with us to keep the booth lively.
What is a LEAF intern you ask? They are high school students participating in Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF), a paid four-week internship program created by The Nature Conservancy.
The three girls we got to work with had just come back from a two-week stint in Martha’s Vineyard and would spend their last two weeks in Sheffield, Massachusetts getting to explore the Berkshires while working on various conservation projects. All three attend an environmental charter school in Boston, and reported that the past two weeks had been a pretty extreme change of pace from their usual urban setting.
LEAF aims to reach out to populations that have become underrepresented in the conservation movement so that future generations will be stronger and more diverse. It was heartening to see juniors and seniors in high school already doing meaningful conservation work and leaping at the opportunity to sport and Asian Longhorned Beetle costume despite the ninety-degree weather. To learn more about the LEAF internship, click here.
The LEAF mentor, Ariana Kosmides, sent us this happy update from after the event! "Cashe, Carenne and Aliyah loved handing out fans to help everyone combat the heat and giving Asian longhorn beetle tattoos to kids at the fair. It was a great opportunity for them to utilize their public speaking skills and peoples skills. Teaching others and answering questions about invasive beetles helped increase their knowledge and understanding of invasive species and the impact it has on our habitat." Thanks Ariana!