Conservation
Fellows Partnership

The Conservation Fellows Partnership serves five to seven high school students of color each year. As a part of the program, students work with the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness for 10 months, aligning with their academic year.

2017 – 2018 Conservation Fellows

student conservation fellows

Noa Carlson

Noa is a senior at St. Paul Academy and Summit School. She is active in Film Club, Poetry Out Loud, Black and Brown Girls Affinity Group, and is a lifeguard and swim instructor. She has also enjoyed rock climbing and dance. Noa says YMCA Camp Du Nord in Ely, Minnesota is among her favorite places in the world. “I value reflection. Whether it be internal or external, thinking about your actions or other people’s and how that may affect someone else, or even yourself, is crucial to be a growing human being.”

Blessing Joseph

Blessing is a senior at White Bear Lake High School. She is on Student Council and the Homecoming Committee. “I always show passion in what I do, and do my best to help others,” she notes. Blessing feels passionate about urban pollution and has a strong love of lakes. She considers herself strong-minded, kind-hearted, and brave.

Gemma Yoo

Gemma is a junior at Saint Paul Academy and Summit School. She participates in theater and orchestra and is an avid reader of books. She credits her school’s biology class for spiking her interest in nature and conservation. Gemma recalls a winter trip to YMCA Camp Widjiwagan where, “I will never forget the feeling I got the first night when I saw how many stars there really were in the sky.” She is particularly concerned about the impacts of global warming and human-generated waste and pollution.

Kiki Ndogu

Kiki is a freshman at Mounds Park Academy. She has been active in the Lovin’ the Skin I’m In program, an initiative exploring societal standards of beauty, and enjoys drawing and writing stories. Kiki says, “I want to be able to create projects that will contribute to spreading news about saving the environment.” Global pollution concerns her, particularly the impacts from the activities of wealthy nations on other countries.

Sarah Ndogu

Sarah is a senior at Mounds Park Academy. She is active in the Chinese Club, orchestra, church choir, and the Students Today Leaders Forever service program. She notes she is especially quick at learning foreign languages. Sarah has also spent time working on a small family farm where they grew lettuce, carrots, raspberries, chives and flowers. She especially values her family, her faith, and her Nigerian heritage.

Gemma Yoo

Gemma is a junior at Saint Paul Academy and Summit School. She participates in theater and orchestra and is an avid reader of books. She credits her school’s biology class for spiking her interest in nature and conservation. Gemma recalls a winter trip to YMCA Camp Widjiwagan where, “I will never forget the feeling I got the first night when I saw how many stars there really were in the sky.” She is particularly concerned about the impacts of global warming and human-generated waste and pollution.

About the Program

Central to the program are three main opportunities for the conservation fellows to spend time recreating outdoors. First, students participate in an overnight orientation at a local nature center, an important first step for many youth who are new to outdoor recreation. Following orientation, the fellows will spend four days snowshoeing and skiing in the BWCAW as a part of the Friends’ annual Winter Weekend. The program concludes with a full wilderness canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

During the rest of their time in the Conservation Fellows Partnership program, students meet with the Friends staff to learn about addressing conservation issues and assist with advocacy and outreach initiatives. Students also develop individual projects that address an environmental issue of their choice, enabling them to directly apply the skills that they are developing to address environmental issues that interest them or impact their communities.

The Conservation Fellows Partnership also regularly introduces students to other organizations and agencies working in conservation in diverse ways. Through site visits, meetings, and presentations, students learn from legislators, scientists, government agency staff, nature-based businesses, tribal governmental leaders and scientists, and other environmental non-profits. The program’s partnership with other organizations in the conservation community provides students with an opportunity to broaden their environmental network and experience.

Additionally, students share their cultural perspectives with the Friends to ensure that the Friends’ work is inclusive, incorporates diverse perspectives, and is relevant and effective for the long-term preservation of the BWCAW and the Quetico-Superior ecosystem.

For more information about the Conservation Fellows Partnership or to apply, contact the program coordinator.