Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

LEAF program sends LA high school students to work (and play) on nature preserves

The Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future program,or LEAF, is coming to California for the first time. The national program that “combines classroom curriculum with real-world conservation work experiences for urban youth” will be taking 11 juniors (seven boys and four girls) from the Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale and sending them to work alongside scientists from the Nature Conservancy on nature preserves.

From July 12 through August 3, the boys are headed to Montana, while the girls will be going to Santa Cruz Island, the largest and most biodiverse of California’s Channel Islands. Among their conservation activities include monitoring and tracking indigenous endangered species (like the Island Fox), beach cleanup and restoring wildlife habitat. It’s not all work, however. The students will also partake in swimming, kayaking and hiking.

The work experience they’re gleaning should prove to be valuable in the real world. According to a press release from the California Conservancy, tech and science careers are expected to grow 30 percent, predicting up to 2 million STEM-related jobs created in America by 2014.