By: Jake Paun, BECY Intern
It is hard to argue that after being involved with the Borderlands Earth Care Youth (BECY) Institute over the last five years, first as an Intern with the BECY Douglas crew in 2015, then Youth Leader in 2016, and a Facilitator in 2017 and 2019, that I do not have a soft place in my heart for this program and what it has done for me and continues to do for the youth of my hometown. What keeps me coming back is the support from those who run the program and their drive to not only support the environment, but the youth growing up in a small town, such as myself.
What I hope to gain from this internship is the understanding of coordinating projects and what goes into such planning as the Madrean Archipelago is one of if not the most diverse ecoregion in the world! As an up-and-coming cattle rancher, I understand now that I must take care of the land that takes care of me and my herd, therefore land health is of the highest concern. Being a part of BECY over the last few years I have met many people who share the same interests and I hope to continue to meet similar people throughout the course of this internship who I can learn from and whose guidance I can implement throughout my life.
With all of this being said, my ultimate goal is to be able to share my success stories with fellow BECY graduates. I can say with no doubt I would not be who or where I am today without ever entering BECY and I hope my involvement this spring will only multiply the chance for further successful summers. Our goal as a program is to protect the environment, and how better to achieve that than to plant a seed (pun intended) within youth to be passionate about our mission and proceed to receive degrees in areas or perform academic research on topics covered throughout the program and become future conservationists?
By the end of the program this summer, I hope that we instill passions for the land in each of the interns, leaders, and facilitators and their passion is spread amongst their family and friends, and hopefully the community. Many community members say that Douglas is a town that is afraid of change. While I don’t expect the whole town to participate in Global Warming rallies in Washington D.C., simple improvements that have been acquired by our graduates through their summer program is a great starting point.
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