YOUTH UNPLUGGED INITIATIVE

Isolation, obesity, attention disorders, and depression are just some of the childhood, teenage, and young adult trends associated with today’s wired generation.  With a growing body of research suggesting that direct exposure to nature is essential for emotional and physical health, the Wildlands Trust is dedicated to providing opportunities for the next generation to experience the great outdoors. The premise for “Youth Unplugged” is that young people are happier and healthier when they feel connected to the natural world.

Brockton High School Envirothon Team

The BHS Envirothon Team smiles before the 2015 statewide competition, held at the Quabbin Reservoir.

The BHS Envirothon Team smiles before the 2015 statewide competition, held at the Quabbin Reservoir.

Wildlands Trust sponsors after-school programming for dozens of disadvantaged, yet high achieving high school learners at Brockton High School.  In collaboration with the science department, we coordinate and lead a weekly after-school natural science program.  We coach and support the school’s first ever “Envirothon” Team.  Envirothon, a prestigious statewide competition for Massachusetts high school students, tests team knowledge on challenging natural resource topics.  Brockton students placed in the top five of the 29 participating state teams in three of the five competition categories, sharing accolades with Newton North and Lexington, two of the state’s top high schools.

Teen & Young Adult Inclusive Programming

A Community Connections member learns about healthy wetlands by examining a water sample.

A Community Connections member learns about healthy wetlands by examining a water sample.

Wildlands Trust offers groups of teens and young adults with social challenges and/or physical challenges the support and opportunity to experience the outdoors.  The benefits of being outdoors in a natural environment are just as or even more important to these groups, but the experience needs to be tailored to meet the group’s needs.  Programs for groups have included scavenger hunts, naturalist-led walks and picnics, animal tracking and photography workshops.  The Trust also offers outdoor internships and volunteer opportunities to teens with autism and social skills deficits, offering a unique chance for young adults to increase their self-esteem with meaningful work. 

Green Team

The Green Team cools off after a morning of shellfishing with Plymouth Natural Resource Officers.

The Green Team cools off after a morning of shellfishing with Plymouth Natural Resource Officers.

High school students from Brockton, Duxbury, and Plymouth participate in this summer program, which provides hands-on job training for high school students interested in natural resource work. Under the supervision of Wildlands Trust staff, team members undertake trail clearing, wetland clean-up, invasive species removal and farming projects. Team members who complete the program receive a stipend for their efforts.

Seasonal Land Stewards & Interns

Matt, Owen and Otto are all smiles after a long, hot day of cutting new trails at Brockton Audubon Preserve.

Matt, Owen and Otto are all smiles after a long, hot day of cutting new trails at Brockton Audubon Preserve.

During the summer the Trust provides employment and training opportunities for 4 to 5 high school and college students interested in natural resource careers. In these pre-professional training opportunities young people work alongside our professional staff on everything from property management to graphic design and administration.

AmeriCorps – Massachusetts Land Initiative for Tomorrow

AmeriCorps MassLIFT members welcome visitors to the Trust’s Willow Brook Farm Preserve.

AmeriCorps MassLIFT members welcome visitors to the Trust’s Willow Brook Farm Preserve.

Each year, the Trust engages a new group of recent college graduates in a year of public service with the communities we serve. Through the AmeriCorps Program, we offer full-time experience to exceptional young people in exchange for professional mentoring and a monthly stipend. These individuals, most of who are seeking to work in environmental field, lead educational and service programs for youth and adults throughout southeastern Massachusetts.

Support for Area Teens

In addition to other programming, Wildlands Trust provides support and mentoring for teens throughout Massachusetts, whether it be through mentoring local Eagle Scout candidates on their service projects, hosting the local high school astronomy club’s “Star Party,” or helping a group organize a property clean-upWhen local teens show interest in environmental work, we provide them with the support and assistance they need to grow that interest and connect with their local environment.

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”
— -Baba Dioum, 1968