The inaugural summer program hosted its first of three 12-day sessions, teaching NYC high school students about the environment and green career opportunities.
Last week, the brand-new Timbuctoo Climate and Careers Institute hosted its first ever cohort of students for the summer, just a year and a half after the concept of the program had been initially discussed.
The program, which was created in partnership with SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and CUNY Medgar Evers College, brings high school students from New York City to the ESF campus in Newcomb. The program exposes students to green spaces they may not otherwise have access to, as well as to green careers, with the aim of diversifying students’ career considerations.
The program was championed by the Adirondack Council’s “Forever Adirondacks” Director, Aaron Mair, the state’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, State Sen. Zellnor Myrie, and Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages, who sponsored SUNY ESF’s funding request last year.
Raul J. Aguirre, Executive Director of the Adirondack Council said, “Meeting the inaugural class of Timbuctoo students in Newcomb was incredibly inspiring. This ground-breaking program reminds us that the Adirondack Park belongs to all New Yorkers while also providing a career jumpstart to the next generation of environmental leaders. The Timbuctoo Climate and Careers Institute will strengthen the Adirondack Park by introducing new people to this national treasure and its importance for people and wildlife. Ensuring that more people know and appreciate the significance of the Adirondack Park is one of the best things we can do to protect it. Congratulations to the first class, and to everyone who supported this idea and brought it to life.”
Caucus Chair Assembly Member Michaelle Solages said, “We are thrilled to champion the Timbuctoo Climate and Careers Institute, a program that embodies our commitment to empowering youth of color and diversifying career opportunities. By partnering with SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and CUNY Medgar Evers College, we are offering high school students from New York City access to green spaces and green careers in the Adirondack Park. This initiative reflects our dedication to creating inclusive and sustainable pathways for the next generation of environmental leaders. By supporting programs like this, we can foster a deeper appreciation for the Adirondack Park’s significance and promote environmental conservation among all communities. Congratulations to the inaugural class and to everyone who contributed to making this vision a reality. We look forward to expanding upon this historic investment.”
State Senator Zellnor Myrie said, “I am so proud to have fought for the Timbuctoo Climate and Careers Institute in last year’s budget alongside Chair Solages and my BPHA colleagues. The students in this program will be our next generation of climate leaders, learning about New York’s incredible civil rights history and how to apply those lessons to the fight for environmental justice today. I can’t wait to see what these students accomplish with the skills and knowledge they gain from this incredible program.”
Paul Hai, SUNY ESF, said, “Watching the first cohort of students arrive one by one at Medgar Evers on the first morning, and seeing them quickly bond during activities and become engaged in discussion, was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had in the 23 years I’ve been working for ESF. Working to resolve the challenges our society faces, including the impacts of a changing climate and systemic environmental and social injustices, requires us to work together across disciplines, communities, and cultures. The Timbuctoo Institute models this type of approach by bringing together public institutions and agencies, private organizations and businesses, elected leaders and government, all with the goal of providing information and experiences to the youth of today, so they become the leaders and problem solvers of tomorrow.”
Wallace Ford, CUNY Medgar Evers College, said, “The Timbuctoo Project is an excellent example of the importance of focus on various aspects of urban and non-urban impacts of climate change. The Departments of Public Administration and Chemistry and Environmental Science at Medgar Evers College are an example of CUNY in the present preparing for the future.”
Forty-eight high school students will be hosted by the program this summer to learn all about the environment, science and justice, which will run three 12-day sessions. It is the hope of the Timbuctoo Climate Science and Careers Summer Institute that this program empowers more young people to explore New York’s wilderness and consider the possibility of a green career.
Students enrolled in the program will be able to enjoy activities such as canoeing and hiking, while also learning valuable life and safety skills.
Editor’s note: This has been updated to correct the location of the program to Newcomb.