Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

US Forest Service Connects With Milwaukee Youth

US Forest Service

Students at most colleges and universities around the state are back in class at this point. For a group of students that spent the summer in Milwaukee, they take back with them lessons learned in developing environmental curricula for young people.

The group was this summer's class of Conservation Education interns through the US Forest Service. It's part of the federal agency's Urban Connections program. Jean Claassen leads that effort in Milwaukee. She and interns Taylor Ruffin, Cassie Cibik, and Arturo Garcia joined Lake Effect's Mitch Teich in the studio.

"The goal of the Conservation Education intern program is to connect Milwaukee youth with nature and introduce them to some environmental issues and to help them see themselves eventually as stewards of nature in their own community," says Classen.

The program not only involves field work, but connecting with and teaching younger students about the natural environment.

"Being in a classroom in Milwaukee Public Schools, you want to really reach a child and you want them to understand a concept. But I've realized through this internship that being at a site, maybe just once or twice, you're not necessarily going to change how they think, but you're going to introduce a concept so that maybe eventually they'll realize, 'Oh, remember when the Forest Service said that, we can use that as a basis for what we're learning,'" says intern Cassie Cibik.

Jean Claassen is coordinator of the US Forest Service's Urban Connections program in Milwaukee. The program runs a conservation education internship program each summer.  Among this year's group was Taylor Ruffin of UW-Stevens Point, Arturo Garcia of UW-MIlwaukee, and Cassie Cibik, a recent UWM graduate.

You can see the type of work and results this program accomplished last year in Milwaukee on the US Forest Service Region 9 site.

Audrey is a producer, host and reporter for Lake Effect. She is involved with every aspect of the show — from conducting interviews, editing audio, posting web stories and mixing the show together.