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Youth Leadership on Parks

Q&A with Youth Leadership participant, N.B.

| 3 min read

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

N.B.: I’ve learned that green spaces are important, especially to those who need space or need somewhere peaceful to go. Climate change in Boston is weird. We should take care of our land more and stop polluting and there are a lot of environmental justice issues to face in Boston. We just have to overcome them.

Should youth be included in these discussions?

N.B.: I think that youth should be involved more in these discussions because we are the future of Boston! When our ancestors or grandparents pass then we will be the upcoming ones. We should be able to have some type of knowledge and should have some say to what happens in this city, especially if we are also living here.

What have you learned about Boston?

N.B.: I’ve learned that there are lots of places that care about nature and different resources like the Emerald Necklace and Franklin Park. There are people who value the land of Boston.

they bring the community together and create a peaceful space

What will you do with this knowledge in the future?  

N.B.: I will teach somebody else with this knowledge that I learned in this program. I will hopefully one day be able to teach my son to value his land and space that we do have and will also bring him out in nature a lot.

Do you think parks are important? Why or why not?

N.B.: I think that parks are very important because they bring the community together and create a peaceful space. I genuinely love walking past my park near my house and seeing the kids playing together, the dogs in the field, parents communicating with each other and everyone at the basketball court playing basketball together. 

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?

N.B.: In the city of Boston I would like to see the community coming together more and cleaning up spaces. I want Boston to do more for each other instead of bringing each other down. We all live in this city. Why do we constantly ruin our land, nature and water? Why not help each other?

For context, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 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.