Onward, Youth Leaders!

The team has officially completed the Youth Leadership Program for the 2017/2018 school year! Take a look back at some of the highlights of our year…



Climb on!

As the Youth Leaders enter their final week of the program, what better way to celebrate than to go rock climbing!


We had an awesome trip out to Hammond Pond in Newton for the climb. It was everyone’s first time climbing outdoors, which made the whole experience exciting and memorable!

Special thanks to YES (Youth Enrichment Services) for providing the equipment, transportation, and trained staff needed for this excursion. We appreciate your support!

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…