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Youth Leadership on Parks

Q&A with Youth Leadership participant, J.F.

| 2 min read

What have you learned about Boston?

J.F: There is so much work that has been put into Boston and you wouldn’t know unless you do research on your community.

What have you learned about parks in Boston or parks in general?

J.F: What I learned about parks in Boston is that they are all connected in some ways and are very important to our environment. Most of the parks these days help our community in so many ways. For example, growing crops, feeding animals and just community gatherings—which could be a park with swings with kids meeting each other and running around and also bike paths that go all the way through other communities. It’s more than just a park with flowers‒these parks help our community.

What have you learned about the environment, climate change and environmental justice issues?

J.F: I think we don’t pay enough attention to our environment or observe the greatness around us. We could prevent climate change to a certain extent but we need to be more helpful and provide for our community. In 2021, there are more environmental justice issues that are not talked about but need to be worked on.

It’s more than just a park with flowers‒these parks help our community

What will you do with this knowledge in the future?  

J.F: What I will do in the future with my knowledge is continue to grow my knowledge, help others that need to be knowledgeable and hopefully come up with a bright idea one day for our communities/world.

What would you like to see happen in the City of Boston and its parks? What are your ideas, dreams and thoughts for the future?

J.F: What I would like to see in our parks is more gatherings, more people learning, and understanding their community to help.

Should youth be included in these discussions?

J.F: I definitely think youth should be included in these discussions because we are the next generation and we are going to be the ones trying to make this world great.

For context, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 5 of this series.

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s Director of Education Kent Jackson and TerraCorps Service Member/Youth Education Coordinator Tess O’Day sought fresh insights from members of the Conservancy’s Youth Leadership Program (YLP), which, since 2009, has been offering nature connection, environmental education, career exploration and workforce development for Boston Public School high school students ages 15 to 18. Youth Leaders are paid for their program work, with sessions being held virtually during the pandemic. Each week, they participate in discussions about landscape architecture, environmental education, public parks and environmental justice, as well as develop leadership skills. They also enhance communication skills and deepen their life science and park maintenance knowledge.

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