I love you, but I just can’t smile.

The Youth Leaders have had some major accomplishments over the past few weeks.

They did an excellent job teaching our 3rd grade friends from Boys & Girls Club at the Hennigan School all about planting beans.

We also learned about writing a resume and prepared for next week at with the youngsters.


The leaders worked hard outside picking up sticks. We love it when the days get longer!


We found some time to play a team building game outside.

This was one that we did at the beginning of the program back in October, so it was fun to see how the team has grown and connected over the past 7 months.

But at the end of the day, we just want to make each other laugh…

“Honey I love you, but I just can’t smile.”


Laughing & Learning

The Youth Leaders did an awesome job this week teaching third graders about seed germination. This was the first session of our pilot program where the youth leaders teach nature-based lessons to students in the Boys & Girls Club of Boston. For the rest of the program, the Youth Leaders will meet with the group every Thursday.


We didn’t get a chance to plant our seeds, but the team is excited to finish up the lesson next week!

Back at the office, we took advantage of the nice weather (while it lasted…) and got outside for some nature connection activities. Check out the group playing a few stealthy rounds of Fire Keeper:

In this game, the person in the middle is guarding a set of keys on the ground- eyes closed. The others have to silently sneak up and try to grab the keys without being heard. If the person in the middle hears something, they’ll point directly at the sound and the person caught has to start back at the edge of the circle.

This helps increase sensory awareness and emphasizes predator/prey relationships. The game also teaches fox-walking, listening to the quietest sound, and the importance of moving slowly and mindfully.

Youth Leaders take to the Whites!

This week the Youth Leaders trekked to New Hampshire for an overnight trip at Appalachian Mountain Club’s Shapleigh Bunkhouse in Crawford Notch. It was a fun-filled overnight trip with hiking, cross country skiing, tubing, and a whole lot of bonding!

Special thanks to AMC’s Youth Opportunities Program for providing gear, assisting with planning, and co-leading the trip!

Making Forestry ~FUN~

We’ve had a fantastic round of guest speakers over the past two weeks! We were fortunate to have Urban Connections City Coordinator, Jessie Scott, from the U.S. Forest Service speak to the group about the fantastic work done by the Forest Service and the vast number of jobs associated with the agency – who knew!?


Image result for us forest service

…and our very own, Ellen Arnstein! Ellen provided the group with fantastic information about her background with the Peace Corps, New York City Parks, and Yale School of Forestry, which as led to her current position as Field Operations Manager with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy.


And, as always, making time for team building, leadership activities, and having fun!


In other news, we practiced a lesson around seed germination that we will later teach to 3rd grade students. We had to test our the beans under our new grow light to assure successful seedlings when we present to the little ones…


The Youth Leaders will each facilitate a piece of the lesson, so they have begun prepping and will practice with each other in the coming weeks.

Seedling status: Looking Kentucky WONDERful!


Presentation Season!


The Youth Leaders had fun this week continuing to facilitate the presentations that they’ve been creating and practicing over past few weeks. Check them out below:

Alex and Dennis: Tree Physiology

Amy and Anna: Twigs and Branches



Korey, Medjine and Kevin: Flower Anatomy

We also had two fantastic guest speakers – Margaret Dyson, Director of Historic Parks with Boston Parks and Recreation, and Andy Balon, Arborist Representative with Bartlett Trees. They spoke to the Youth Leaders about their career and background, giving the students a better sense of the various careers associated with parks.

We’re excited for more guest speakers to visit us in the coming weeks!


Stay tuned for seeds and soil…


From Climatology to Leaf Terminology

Happy New Year from the Youth Leaders! Over the past two weeks, we have worked diligently on preparing presentations that we will share with the group and staff. Topics include Signs of Fall and Leaf Terminology, Flower Anatomy, Tree Physiology, and Twigs and Branches.


We even had our first group complete their final presentation! Shamauri and Chris gave a fantastic lesson on Signs of Fall and Leaf Terminology. Check out their presentation below:

On another note, we were lucky enough to have Professor Bruce Anderson from Boston University come speak to the team. Bruce is a Climatologist and gave an engaging presentation around the topic of Climate Change. He discussed the theory of human-induced climate change and what that means for the future of our planet, and concluded with small actions we can all take to reduce our carbon footprint. Bruce is the first of many guest speakers to come!

bruce a. climate speaker

Meet the Youth Leaders


Chris is in the 12th grade at the John D. O’Bryant School. He did Green Team in the summer of 2017 and joined YLP to expand from the Green Team. He enjoys learning about trees in YLP. As for the future, he wants to study computer science or engineering in college.


Amy is in 11th grade at Boston Latin Academy. She joined YLP because she wanted to learn more about the environment. She enjoys learning about different values of nature and the people she works with. There are many things that she has already gained from the program, such as developing new skills (communication, teamwork, time management), the knowledge of trees and plants, and also a few new friends who she calls a “team.” In the future, Amy wants to study pre-med in college and become a neurologist or a physical therapist.


Dennis is currently a junior at Boston Latin School. He’s been working at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy since the summer of 2017. He joined YLP because he enjoyed bonding with the Green Team and wanted to do the same in YLP. He wants to study business or political science in college and hopes to become a successful businessman when he grows up.


Shamauri is in 11th grade at West Roxbury High. He did Green Team in the summer of 2017 and came back to the Conservancy for YLP. He likes art and music and likes to mix his love for that in nature by walking through the parks to get inspired by something. He also likes the feeling he gets in a park when it is quiet and peaceful.


Alex goes to Boston Latin School and has been working for the Emerald Necklace Conservancy for half a year. He did Green Team over the summer of 2017 and rejoined for YLP. He enjoys learning about the environment, and wants to study medicine in college.


Anna is in 11th grade at the John D. O’Bryant School. She started working with ENC in the summer with Green Team and continued working with the Conservancy for YLP. She joined YLP because the Green Team was amazing and working with the environment at work was very eye-opening. It helped her develop many skills like communication and leadership skills. She enjoys YLP because it is a very friendly environment and she is working with her friends, which is also great! She feels that they do many things to get them closer and connected to nature. They also take part in activities that help build leadership skills for the future. In the future, Anna wants to major in psychology and make sure she does many volunteer and community services.


Medjine is in the 12th grade at West Roxbury Academy. She started working with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy in the summer of 2017 as a Green Team member and proceeded with YLP in the Fall. She enjoys learning about trees and the maintenance of the environment. In the future, she would like to be a business administrator and she also has interest in environmental science.


Kevin attends the John D. O’Bryant school and he is in the 11th grade. This is his first year taking part in the Emerald Necklace Conservancy programs. He joined YLP to develop his leadership skills along with gaining more knowledge about the environment. He enjoys YLP because of the opportunities it gives him to further his skills and knowledge. Some of his interests relating to YLP would be that of the environment and things relating to it. He is unsure of the things he wants to study and learn in college. Perhaps the skills he develops during YLP will influence and help with his decisions.


Korey is in 11th grade and attends Charlestown High School. He has been working at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy for 5 months. The reason why he joined YLP was to see how he moves and works as a leader and how he demonstrates that. In the future, Korey wants to become a musician and a musical engineer, which is also the field he wants to study.