LEAF Program: Inspiring Youth in Nature

By Katherine Sather† / The Nature Conservancy

Do you remember your first experience in nature? This summer, urban high school students from across the country are getting their first taste of the great outdoors as part of The Nature Conservancy’s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program.

LEAF provides paid summer internships for urban high school students and helps educators from environmental high schools share best practices and scientific resources.

In 2012, LEAF will send 100 students from 20 high schools to 22 natural areas around the country! Interns work alongside our scientists and spend time in the wilderness learning about conservation and environmental issues.

Watch our video to hear from LEAF interns in Virginia.

Now in its 18th year, the LEAF internship program aims to connect todayís urban youth with nature so that they may:

  • Foster a lifelong affinity and respect for nature
  • Prepare themselves for potential careers in conservation
  • Enhance their classroom science, math, and technology education with field experience
  • Nurture their senses of self-reliance and independence
  • Grow to become the next generationís environmental leaders

More on Care2.com:

10 Childlike Ways to Connect with Nature
5 Tips for Raising Globally Aware Naturalists
Get Kids Outside: Tracking



Jo Recovering
Jo S2 years ago

Thank you.

Warren Webber
Warren Webber2 years ago

Live long and prosper!

ERIKA S3 years ago

thank you

Terry V.
Terry V4 years ago


Val M.
Val M4 years ago

Sounds like a great program!

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M4 years ago

This sounds like a terrific program, and who knows this program may turn out some of the next leading conservationists. There is so much that can be learned from nature!! Kudos to the LEAF Program!!

Fiona T.
Past Member 4 years ago

There's a lot worth learning from the nature

Jennifer L.
Jennifer L4 years ago

What a great program. Another somewhat similar program is Big City Mountaineers. They provide mentoring for at-risk kids through adventure training.

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago


Heidi R.
Past Member 5 years ago

Being exposed to the wonder of nature in any way, small or big, is beneficial and necessary for us all, but especially for children. We should never forget to be in awe and wonder when we look at our world.