This program was designed with our future generation in mind, and creating ambassadors for conservation that can change our community for the better.
Get to know our Riverside Young Leaders in Conservation:
Riverside Young Leaders in Conservation
Victoria Valdez, Raegan Padula and Varune Hoskote track debris collected by the City of Edgewater’s WaterGoat at Veterans Park with the assistance of Dr. Art Litowitz, Riverside Conservancy Board Director and Treasurer.
WaterGoats are devices that trap waterway trash/debris before entering our rivers. The City of Edgewater has installed one in Veterans Park to trap debris from the 18th Street Canal.
Varun attends the Protect Our Lagoon Academy field trip to the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet, Florida.
Are you a high school student who has a love for nature and a passion for creating change? Look no further, this is the program for you!
Our Riverside Young Leaders in Conservation Program will provide two gifted high school students with the chance to experience and actively participate in the conservation of lands and shorelines in Volusia County, all while learning what it means to be a leader in our community. As part of the program, the students will be fully immersed throughout the school year in understanding their role as future leaders and as conservationists. They will understand the importance of healthy rivers, conduct shoreline restoration, and participate in our hands-on classes, Save our Rivers and Springs Academy, to deepen their understanding of our county’s natural environment.
The students will conduct STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering & Math) projects including water quality monitoring, field biology, and scientific excursions. During the year, the Young Leaders will attend extra-curricular training at local marine science facilities and universities to learn about aquatic ecosystems, water quality and healthy habitats. They will hone their research, presentation, and leadership skills under the guidance of mentors and instructors, many of whom are experts in their fields. These chosen students will work alongside our community partners and speak at youth events about water quality and conservation. They will also get the chance to talk to scientists and researchers, and even lead small groups in a project. They will learn the importance of preserving and enhancing their community and the environment, as well as understanding/planting “living shorelines,” which are riverfront or coastal areas that are vegetated with native plants. Additionally, these students will get to present their research findings to a local government or scientific symposium.
This immersive program will give the Young Leaders the opportunity to become experts in a field that is important to the economy and health of our community, and through their education, these exceptional students will use their natural gifts to become confident leaders.
The overarching goal for this program is the education of future generations who understand that a healthy community relies on harmony between the citizens and the nature around them. Young Leaders will learn that the restoration and enhancement of lands and waterways help create a more prosperous and healthy society. The students in this program will learn in the field and at research institutions. They will have the opportunity to internalize the core value of being good stewards of the environment while learning job and leadership skills. The Young Leaders will be ambassadors to their peers and an inspiration to the people around them. As their knowledge and participation increases, there will be more people working toward healthy habitats, which benefits our entire community.
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