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High schoolers learn about environmental stewardship

Newburyport High School students got a good look at potential green internships and community service opportunities during ACES 2022 Environmental Open House.

Keith Sullivan/Photo
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NEWBURYPORT — Newburyport High School students got a good look at potential green internships and community service opportunities when the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards presented the 2022 Environmental Stewardship Open House Wednesday afternoon at the school.

The Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards, or ACES, is a network of organizations and individuals dedicated to climate and environmental health.

The Newburyport-based non-profit organization organized the first Environmental Stewardship Open House, which saw 19 local ally organizations, such as the Merrimack River Watershed Council and the Gulf of Maine Institute fill the high school cafeteria Wednesday afternoon.

ACES president Art Currier said Wednesday’s open house was designed to offer NHS students a chance to discover project-based learning experiences in their local area.

“These organizations can give students rich experiences in a whole host of potential projects,” he said.

NHS junior Grace O’Malley had a chance to talk to senior Johnny Owens, who was representing the Massachusetts Audubon Society Joppa Flats Education Center.

Owens said he has been volunteering at the education center for the past six years and was telling his fellow high school students about the volunteer teen naturalist positions that are available.

“They do a lot of the education, especially during the summer time. That has been a great opportunity for the Massachusetts Audubon Society and I hope they do something similar for the little kids too,” he said.

O’Malley said she learned a lot about Massachusetts Audubon Society volunteer opportunities from her classmate.

“You can help out with a lot of family things. I wasn’t looking for an internship until I got here,” she said.

Senior Ibo Sava said he was a fan of the 3D map of the area that the Merrimack River Watershed Council brought in.

Meanwhile, high school principal Andrew Wulf said Wednesday’s open house was a tremendous opportunity for, both his school, and ACES.

“This has been a great collaboration, as we are working to strengthen internship and work experiences for our students. That way our students can experience their interests before they graduate and have a better idea of what they do, beyond high school,” he said.

Although Newburyport High School does not require its students to fill a set number of internship or community service hours, Wulf said each student can work toward accumulating service credits.

“If a student, from freshman year to senior year, accrues 75 hours of community service, that counts as 2.5 credits. That way, their schedule could be more flexible by their senior year,” the principal said.

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge visitor services manager Ella Webber said she was also letting plenty of students know about all of the internship opportunities that her federal program provides on Plum Island.

“Short-term internships and fellowships can help someone get a foot in the door for a conservation career and we also do a lot of mentorship and career building, to figure out what a long-term career would like as they think about college and what they want to do with the rest of their lives and how that might fit into a possible federal career in conservation,” she said.

Sophomore Priya Kaur, president of the Newburyport High School Interact Club, said her fellow students seem to be excited about the information she and junior Nolan Smith were providing about the club during the open house.

“They know that their friends are also doing it and it’s a really chill, low commitment when it comes to community service,” she said.

Smith said he was also getting a positive response from his fellow high schoolers.

“Everyone seems to like Interact Club. They like to participate and it is about service above self,” he said.

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