April 2013
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The BYEN Insider
Contents
Youth Spotlight                   
                                  Student Internships
                       
Hello,
  
All of us at BYEN are shocked and saddened by the attacks on our city on Patriot's Day at the Boston Marathon. Our hearts and thoughts go out to all affected by this tragic event. We also want to express our admiration for the many partner organizations and individuals who participated in the marathon to raise money to support environmental causes and programs, including Jessica Muscaro of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the Franklin Park Coalition team, and the New England Aquarium team. While Monday's attacks turned what was meant to be a time for celebration into one of tragedy and mourning, we have faith in the resilience and strength of our community to get through this difficult time together.
  
Peace,
Dawn Chavez and the BYEN staff
OotM~ Youth Spotlight ~
Jamica Morson goes skiing in the White Mountains. 
 Jamica Morson, a student at Boston Latin Academy,  recounts her journey into green jobs and the environmental field.
 
"My name is Jamica Morson. I am 16 years old and have been working with Green Jobs all around Boston for about 2 years. Working with environmental justice and education programs has changed my perspective on life and has given me a sense of responsibility in terms of educating others of my knowledge in the field.
 
"My environmental journey began with my first summer job at Artists for Humanity in South Boston. Artists for Humanity is a non-profit organization that gives under-resourced teens of Boston the opportunity to explore the world of art expression. Artist for Humanity's building is run by enormous solar power panels on the roof of the building, making it one of the most energy efficient buildings in the city of Boston. It also uses a special kind of acrylic paint that is 78% less toxic than paint used in other studios. When I worked at AFH, I was so intrigued by the idea of environmental awareness and I wanted to know more about it. What is global warming? What is a carbon footprint? What could I do to make this world a better and safer place for the generations to come?
 
"I began the process of searching for a job for the school year, and in doing so I stumbled across the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. The job description included educating others on environmental justice and working with other people my age to restore the Emerald Necklace Park system. I began my work at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy in October 2011 and I was employed there for nearly a year, first as a participant in the Youth Leadership Program and then as Assistant Crew Leader. I gained so many skills from the ENC that I will need in the 'real world', such as leadership, how to work well with others, problem solving techniques, and so much more. I walked away from my job at the Conservancy with a better understanding of nature and how I affect the environment in my everyday life.
  
"Through the ENC I connected with BYEN, which opened so many doors for me by offering a countless amount of future employment opportunities. The BYEN meetings were very genial and intriguing, it was nice to be with people my age who worked for and cared about the same causes that I did.
 
"I recently had the amazing opportunity of spending my Job Shadow Day at the BYEN office with Helen Christou, who is the Assistant Network Director there. Meeting different employees and finding out what role they play in the office was a great experience because it shows how many people it takes to make everything run smoothly. I learned so much [during] my day at the BYEN office and I hope to be invited back one day."
newsNews and Events
 
Call for Exhibitors for the GET ENERGIZED! Green STEM Summit

 

BYEN is looking for presenters for our Green STEM Summit. Whether you're working in a green career or have an amazing activity, click here, and let us help you spread the word!
Save the Date for the GET ENERGIZED! Green STEM Summit!
  
On May 15, BYEN will be hosting a summit, complete with break-out groups, to discuss green STEM education and careers. Click here to attend this free event!
Summer Youth Opportunities Listings
  
Looking for something to do over the summer? Know a youth who is interested in getting work experience? Check out BYEN's Youth Opportunity Listings!
AmericorpInterview with Activist Youth Whitney Ogbesoyen of REEP
     
Whitney Ogbesoyen smiles as she poses with a friend.

This month, we had an interview with Whitney Ogbesoyen, a 17-year-old youth attending Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, who is the membership chair of REEP, the Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project of Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE). She tells us her motivations and the story of how she got involved in improving her community and how REEP performs from a young person's perspective.

 

Tell me a little about yourself.

 

I'm involved in school and religion. I took social justice classes at The City School and joined the Summer Leadership Program, where we talked about health disparities and health risk outcomes from just being lower-income. From there I chose health as my career path, focusing on kids who are premature.

 

How would you define environmental justice?

 

[It's] having fairness and equality in wherever you are and [everyone] having the same way of life. [It's] having the access and right to clean air and water where we live, work, and play.

 

How did you first hear of REEP? What inspired you to get involved?

 

I first heard about REEP at a job fair in East Boston held by BYEN. REEP was there, looking to hire new youth organizers and I did social justice before, so I decided to broaden my horizons and see what environmental justice is.

 

What campaigns are you involved in and what do you do?

 

Originally, [my friend] and I started on the Diesel [Emissions Reductions Ordinance] campaign, but now I'm the membership chair and I'm involved in everything. As membership chair, I figure out ways to get more members in what we do, educate them on what environmental justice is and figure out how to start and build movements. Member meetings are every other Thursdays, so I make sure we have a space and decide what we do. We do lots of outreach with social media, [and encourage members to] bring a friend in.

 

REEP has three major campaigns: Youth Transit Justice, Stop Dirty Diesel Pollution, and Food Justice. Are there any other issues you would like to see addressed in the future?

 

REEP touches some major issues, and they hit on a lot of the other different problems such as violence and pregnancy. Those campaigns are the big focus, but people work on other issues as well, because they work better [for] issues they are personally invested in. The asthma one is closest to me because I was pushing for it and leading it, and Roxbury has 6 times the national asthma rate, which is really bad.

 

Are you involved in any other organizations?

 

I'm involved with REEP, and it's involved in the BYOP (Boston Youth Organizing Project), The City School, T Riders' Union, and others. We have rallies with them.

EJWorkshopBringing Youth Outside with the Nature Connection Workshop
  
The Boston Nature Center on a beautiful, sunny day.

On Monday morning, April 8, it truly felt like spring had finally arrived. The weather was pleasant, making it a perfect day to be outside as part of BYEN's workshop on Mentoring Youth for Nature Connections. A small group of attendees came together at the Boston Nature Center in Mattapan, where Kent Jackson from Earth Spirit Eco-Adventures led the group through activities that he uses to connect to youth. Present were Susan Ekstrom from the Eagle Eye Institute, Shalese Ford from Thompson Bound Harbor Connections, Jessie Scott from the US Forest Service, Brianne Studer from Farrington NatureLinc, and Yvette Kim from BYEN.

 

After telling a story about a man who was able to hear and smell water, Kent's first activity for the group focused on the senses. By smelling pine cones, watching the trees for movement and opening their ears to the sounds of the Nature Center, attendees immersed themselves in their surroundings. The second activity involved blindfolding someone and having the rest of the group attempt to sneak up on this person. For the final activity, everyone was blindfolded and then tasked with tracking down a person banging a stick. At the every end, we all came together to discuss the activities and the meaning behind them. The primary goal? Keep youth engaged by grabbing their attention and enabling them to have fun.

 

Start with a story that grabs the attention. Follow with activities that help the students become aware of their senses. For instance, the sneaking game teaches students the fox walk, which is a particular way of moving silently, the way a fox does. The blindfolded following continues the fox walk training and encourages trust in the facilitator to keep them from bumping into obstacles.

 

Kent pointed out that ending the activities with some reflection and alone-time for the students is an excellent way to wrap-up. It brings the energy level back down to normal, and lets everyone solidify what they have learned. It will help students realize the connection they have with nature and what role they play in preserving it. Resources Kent recommended included books such as Sprouting Roots, Tom Brown's Field Guide, and The Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature

 

 Our next workshop's topic is Wind Energy Curriulum for Youth Employment programs on April 26th. If you are interested in more information or would like to register, click here!

TBHAHands-on Experience at FastCAP Systems
   
The four interns at FastCAP smile with their supervisor.

The Clean Energy High School Internship Initiative are part of a city-wide initiative coordinated by the Boston Youth Environmental Network, the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC), Roots of Success, Boston Public Schools, and clean energy companies throughout Boston. These internships support the development of the future clean energy workforce by providing work experience for underserved youth in the clean energy sector. The grant awarded to the Boston Youth Environmental Network used to develop and implement two programs: a six-week paid summer training program which includes field trips to clean energy companies, and a yearlong afterschool program that is focusing on clean energy career exploration and providing internships and hands-on training in the clean energy industry.

 

One employer participating in the initiative is FastCAP Systems, which works to positively impact the way people produce, use, and store electricity. They are committed to opening the doors of STEM to students by hosting field trips and student interns every year. This school year, FastCAP is hosting four high school students: Janice Bautista, Henry Chavez, Thery Badn, and Nassika Dabel. Thery and Nassika heard about the internships through PIC representatives at their school, Boston Latin Academy, and went through applications and interviews. Henry, also from Boston Latin Academy, was conducting his own research on environmental projects in the South Boston area when he came across FastCAP and sent them a letter of interest. Janice of Boston Latin School went on a Clean Energy Tour of the Innovation District in 2012 when she became interested in FastCAP and was offered a summer position, which extended into a spring position.

 

These internships provide a great opportunity for high school students to really dig deep and learn skills applicable in the work force. Their duties have them working directly with engineers and include preparation for experiments, working in the glove chamber, and testing moisture levels of packaging. The experience at FastCAP also enriches the students' knowledge about the clean energy industry. They have come to realize through their work how the idea of clean energy is materialized, and all the different variables that can be manipulated in the process. As Nassika said, "I learned there's more than one way of doing it, and it's possible to go green without it costing a lot."

 

The experience brought ideas about their futures to the students' minds. For Henry and Thery, who would one day like to own companies, FastCAP was an opportunity to see how a large organization has different departments work together and experience those different areas of work. Nassika, who has been interested in science and technology, further delved into her interests to figure out her focus. Janice's experience taught her widely applicable skills such as diligence and meticulousness and about the support that comes with a job and made her consider engineering as a major.

 

Fabrizio Martini, a mechanical engineer, was also an intern at FastCAP before becoming a full-time employee and supervisor of the interns. When asked what working with high school interns was like, he responded, "I expect more questions, so they learn more. [I] can give them part of my knowledge and help them grow and make life decisions, and I like to share what I know and teach the right methodology for engineers." 

 

Employers interested in participating in this program may contact Helen Christou for more information.

Who are we?
The Boston Youth Environmental Networkan initiative of Boston After School & Beyond, is a comprehensive system of organizations providing hands-on environmental education and employment opportunities for children and youth.

 

 

Our resources and connections help individual providers more effectively engage kids in outdoor learning, academic achievement and career exploration.

Want your organization highlighted in the BYEN Insider? Shoot us an email with a two-paragraph description of what your organization does and what events/activities you are doing!
  
Do you have an event, a program, a conference, job openings, or other opportunities centered on environmental education or youth employment? Let us know and we'll promote it on our website!