Last week I enjoyed a visit from a couple of Youth Leadership and Green Team alumnae. Both participants have continued building a career dedicated to environmental stewardship and returned to share their experiences.
Below are some highlights from our conversation.
TK: Last year at this time, you were just beginning YLP. What did you learn in that program and what have you taken with you?
Judy: I loved Green Team and YLP. I learned so much from the Emerald Necklace Conservancy — going to work everyday was exciting. Not only did I learn about plants, the Emerald Necklace, and this neighborhood, I also learned how to be a more responsible and independent worker. I started to have pride in what I did. It felt good looking at what my crew and I had accomplished.
TK: Why did you decide to pursue more environmental work with the Youth Conservation Corps?
Judy: The Green Team helped expose me to the environmental field and I enjoy it very much. Being in YLP helped me build up my leadership skills and also the courage to try out new things. I learned to get out of my comfort zone, which is why I had the courage to work with the Forest Service.
TK: After your involvement in YLP, you were accepted into a National Parks Service program at the Olmsted Center for Landscape Design. Tell us about your experience.
Xiaoyan: After finishing YLP school year program, I got the opportunity to continue my environmental work at Branching Out. Working at ENC had strengthened my skills and prepared me [to move] forward. I got to meet new people, connect with great co-workers, and build long-lasting relationships. Not only that, I got to learn more about invasive species and ways to protect the environment for the future generations. I am grateful that I got this opportunity. Without YLP, I wouldn’t have been able to work at Branching Out.
TK: Say more about that. How did YLP prepare you for Branching Out and what you’re doing now.
Xioayan: YLP had a great influence in my career. At first, I had no idea what I wanted to major in, in college, but once I started working at ENC, I began to see the positive impact I made in my community. I also realized that in order to promote the “green” environment, working outside removing invasive species is not enough, we need to education people through media, so that people will understand their impact on the environment. This way, ideas will not only spread in Boston but globally. That’s why I choose marketing as my major; I want to promote and advocate for the “green” environment worldwide.