Year Two of the O’Neil Stewards Program

Last summer was the first year of the Joyce and William O’Neil Stewards Program. This is a summer internship program for college students endowed for the next four years by the Joyce C. and William C. O’Neil Charitable Trust. The first year of the program was a resounding success for both the stewardship of Land Alliance preserves and the advancement of these young environmentalists.

We are excited to announce that our evaluation committee of conservation professionals reviewed 21 applications this year and chose four members for the Joyce and William O’Neil Stewards Program class of 2017.  All enthusiastically accepted.

Our hope is to give these students a well-rounded experience, providing a glimpse of what the world of environmental nonprofits is like along with hands-on stewardship experience on Land Alliance properties. The students will conduct wildlife inventories, install native plantings, maintain trails, manage invasive species, learn to monitor conservation easements and lead our dedicated volunteers in stewardship work. They will also help write management plans and grant applications and assist at outreach events such as our Beaver Brook BioBlitz, Family Day at Wawapek and various fundraising events. This program gives the Land Alliance additional capacity to not only maintain but improve our preserved lands for the benefit of the public and our ecosystems.

To broaden their overall experiences, each student will also spend a half-day with either the Friends of Hempstead Plains or Cornell Cooperative Extension-Nassau County’s (CCE) East Meadow Farm. This partnership gives students an opportunity to experience other nonprofits and creates a stronger connection between those organizations and the Land Alliance.

With an exciting project list and a talented set of interns, this summer is sure to be as productive and fun-filled as last.

Meet the 2017 Interns

(Henry Freundlich, Lauren D’Orsa, Lauren D’Orsa and Zachary Johnson)

Lauren D’Orsa is a Masters student at Hofstra University in the Sustainability department. She has worked extensively with geospatial mapping systems and has been published for her research into flooding and wastewater on Long Island. During a field experience in the Galapagos, she honed her field ecology skills. Lauren hopes to round out her extremely strong academic background with more hands-on land management and event planning this summer.

Henry Freundlich is an Environmental Studies major at University of Vermont. Henry is eager to get involved in all types of environmental stewardship. He has done beach cleanups, invasive plant removal and tick surveys with Vermont Fish and Wildlife.

Zachary Johnson studies Biology at Farmingdale University. There, he started and is president of the Botanical Society of America chapter. He has curated museum exhibits of plants and animals and led educational events and in his spare time grows carnivorous plants.

Jeanine Swift holds a Bachelor of Science in Diplomacy and International Relations from Seton Hall University. She has worked extensively in environmental education, running projects such as teaching children about vegetables, giving farm tours and designing new programs about composting. Jeanine has also worked as a farm hand, growing food and maintaining bee hives.

An Update on the Class of 2016

North Shore Land Alliance 2016 Interns

Joseph Murphy is finishing up his Bachelors in Sustainability at Hofstra University as well as managing their greenhouses.

Jeb Polstein is graduating from Bowdoin College with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and is applying for conservation and urban planning opportunities in Portland, OR.

Lauren Weller is pursuing a career in environmental education and will be attending St. Thomas Aquinas College in the fall. In the interim she has found meaningful work as a substitute teacher and ABA (applied behavior analysis) instructor for children with autism.

Conor O’Sullivan is a gardener at Randall’s Island Park Alliance where he is designing and building pollinator nesting habitat. He is also working on restoring forest understories.

All four have reiterated that their summer with Land Alliance informed and improved their work in conservation.

To learn more about the North Shore Land Alliance Joyce and William O’Neil Stewards Program for college students, please contact Amanda Furcall at 516-922-1028 or [email protected].