Sharon, MA – Waltham resident Michael Gonzalez, Needham resident Eric Heiman and Lexington resident Ben Kaplan joined The Trustees of Reservations this past summer as part of the organization’s first year of the Charles River Youth Corps. The teenagers who attend Waltham High School and Chapel Hill Chauncy Hall School worked with two other area youth to learn valuable skills by maintaining the Upper Charles River Greenway in Watertown, Waltham, Weston, and Newton as well as Wilson Mountain Reservation in Dedham. The five youth who participated in the program are high school students from Waltham, Lexington, Needham, Dorchester, and Mattapan. The Trustees of Reservations’ Charles River Youth Corps program is dedicated to providing urban youth with a paid experience in sustainable management of parks and greenways. The program offers urban, high school youth interested in park management, conservation stewardship, and urban design the opportunity to work and learn full time in the summer, and Saturdays through October.
Throughout the past several months, The Trustees’ Charles River Youth Corps members performed trail work, removed invasive species, pruned back vegetation to ensure the safe travel of pedestrians and cyclists, cleaned litter, and lead volunteers, all while learning about the importance of urban natural spaces and human powered transportation routes. Over the summer they met with over 10 area agencies and organizations in a variety of fields related to urban ecology including Sasaki Associates, Inc. (a Watertown-based Urban Planning Design Firm), the Boston Natural Areas Network’s Youth Corps, Charles River Water Association, Charles River Conservancy, Waltham Land Trust, and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).
To further enrich their experience and leadership skills this summer, Michael Gonzalez, Eric Heiman and Ben Kaplan and their other program members collaborated with The Trustees’ City Harvest Youth Corps to share ideas and experiences, participate in field trips and workshops, and conduct periodic “work exchanges” where they learned about each other’s experiences.
Trustees of Reservations Farm Educator, Wil Bullock, Youth Corps Leader, Andrea Godshalk, and Charles River Valley Superintendent, Mike Francis designed the Charles River Youth Corps to provide area youth with the opportunity to work at a meaningful summer job and gain valuable skills and insight that they could translate to a future green job in conservation or parks management.
During the first season, the Charles River Youth Corps cleared over 14,780 feet of urban trails, gathered 630 baskets of invasive Water Chestnuts, led over 100 volunteers, painted over 40 benches and picnic tables, installed 4 bulletin boards and painted a 100 foot mural near the Bleachery in Waltham.
The Trustees began a partnership with DCR in 2006 to increase stewardship along the Upper Charles River Greenway and Wilson Mountain Reservation. If you are interested in participating in a future Charles River Youth Corps program, volunteer projects, and/or working with the youth corps, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508.785.0339.
The Trustees of Reservations Statewide
The Trustees are 100,000 people like you who love the outdoors and the distinctive charms of New England, and believe in celebrating and protecting them for current and future generations. Founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees “hold in trust,” and care for, 104 spectacular “reservations” located on more than 26,000 acres in 75 communities throughout Massachusetts, over half of which are located in the Greater Boston area. All reservations are open for the public to enjoy. Reservations range from working farms and historic homesteads to formal gardens, barrier beaches and barrens habitats, woodland trails, mountain vistas, and the Gold LEED-certified Doyle Center in Leominster, which serves as a green meeting space and gathering place for the conservation and local community.
The Trustees also work to promote healthy, active, green communities around the state, by providing hundreds of year-round programs and events that inspire people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the history, nature, and culture of the Commonwealth. Most programs and events are free-of-charge or heavily discounted for members.
Accredited by the Land Trust Alliance, The Trustees are an established leader in the conservation movement and model for other land trusts nationally and internationally. In addition to its many reservations spanning 26,000 acres, The Trustees also hold perpetual conservation restrictions on more than 19,000 additional acres (a total larger than any other conservation organization in Massachusetts), and have worked with community partners to assist in the protection of an additional 16,000 acres around the Commonwealth.
One of the largest non-profits in the state of Massachusetts, The Trustees employ 152 full-time, 49 regular part-time, and 400 seasonal staff with expertise in ecology, education, historic resources, land protection, conservation, land management, and planning. To find out more and/or become a member, please contact www.thetrustees.org.