Now in its fifth year, the UConn Natural Resources Conservation Academy (NRCA) has worked with over 100 high school students to tackle local environmental projects throughout Connecticut which have resulted in significant conservation activities. Founded by Professor John Volin, Eversource Energy Center Associate Director and Department Head of Natural Resources and the Environment, the NRCA’s mission is to connect teens with local environments and ignite their interest in science while contributing to local environmental solutions. This year, 24 students from diverse backgrounds across Connecticut were selected to participate in the exciting program consisting of two parts; a week-long intensive field experience at UConn, followed by a 10-month individualized, community-based conservation project. Using the 2,100 acre UConn Forest and nearby waterbodies as their classroom, students at NRCA are immersed in a variety of environmental topics (for a glimpse, click here NPR segment on the NRCA). Energized and excited, students take the lead to conduct individual conservation projects in their local community under the guidance of an environmental professional. Highlights of the student’s leadership and conservation projects include:
• Guiding environmental restoration efforts of the Salmon Kill River in NW Connecticut
• Installing green infrastructure such as rain gardens in inner city areas of Bridgeport
• Developing GIS databases and environmental monitoring protocols of invasive plant species and critical habitat on conservation lands
• Converting food waste into fuel for heat
• Creating user-friendly field guides and educational products
This year’s cohort is working on diverse projects in 21 Connecticut towns, and will showcase their work at UConn’s 11th Annual Connecticut Conference on Natural Resources in March 2017.
Published: August 16, 2016