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Youth Leadership on Parks

Q&A with Youth Leadership participant, Fabio J.

Youth leaders developing park maintenance skills
Emerald Necklace Conservancy

| 3 min read

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

Fabio (F): What I’ve learned throughout my life about parks is that it’s a place where someone can go and have fun or just take a chance to work on their mental and spiritual health, and many people go to the park to work on their physical health too. Boston has a fair amount of green spaces in each community but I don’t see as many parks in the downtown and East Boston areas.

What have you learned about Boston?

F: In the past, the river in Boston was really polluted, but the city worked hard and cleaned it up. I also learned that Boston might have a flooding problem in the future when sea level rises and it doesn’t help that we are right near a large body of water.


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

F: I’ve learned a lot about these topics and how they have negatively impacted Boston in the past and how it will negatively impact Boston in the future. But I like how people are constantly working to fix these problems and prevent them from happening.

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

F: I do, especially in Boston since we are next to a large body of water and we are more likely to get a flood which can cause thousands of dollars in damage. If we have more trees we can bring that price of damage down.

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?

F: What I would like to see in this city is a lot more people contributing to saving Boston. We can start in the schools and give kids this type of education and we can also make more opportunities to join in on saving the city, like more jobs. We should make this city’s health a top priority and also start getting some people that have more power and influence to spread the word and take charge in planning changes to help the city.

What would you like to see happen with the Olmsted Bicentennial planning?

F: I would like to see young people participate in the movement because this is the city that we are going to live in and we should be the ones to start making changes and important decisions alongside the adults.

For context, see Part 1, Part 3, Part 4 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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