Training the Conservation Stewards of Tomorrow
ACR understands that healthy and resilient natural landscapes are essential to life. Our philosophy of Conservation in Action means we approach land stewardship with a clear understanding of sound conservation practices; practices based upon impeccable research and a broad appreciation of the complexity and interconnectedness of natural systems. Conservation in Action also means that we are committed to catalyzing and inspiring in children the desire to understand, protect, and care for the land. ACR’s Juniper Program has been doing just that for more than twenty years.
Every year since 1994, ACR has recruited and provided 25 hours of field-based natural history training for a group of 30 budding natural scientists in the fourth and fifth grade. Once trained, these junior naturalists join the 50-member Juniper team to work with ACR volunteers and staff in implementing conservation science and stewardship projects and helping to lead nature walks for members of the public. The Juniper Program offers a significant head start to this next generation of conservation stewards by providing advanced naturalist training, hands-on conservation experiences, and peer mentoring opportunities for participants through grade twelve. Often, ACR staff members are asked to write recommendation letters for Junipers’ college applications and, each year, ACR awards a college scholarship to one or more graduating Junipers.
During the 2016-17 season, ACR Junipers will
- Conduct weekly census of 3 newt species at Bouverie Preserve,
- Study mountain lion research sites with ACR wildlife ecologist & big cat expert Dr. Quinton Martins,
- Collect & post observations for ACR’s online biodiversity catalog on iNaturalist,
- Co-lead Guided Nature Walks for Bouverie visitors,
- Serve as Youth Leaders for ACR special events,
- Assist with conservation & restoration projects on ACR lands, and
- Help with Juniper junior naturalist training.
Training and mentoring the next generation of conservation stewards has never been more important and the Juniper Program is one of many ways that ACR is putting Conservation in Action.