Adrienne Bosler is worried that mentoring, a key component of education and environmental stewardship variety in particular, is on the decline. She ought to know; as the Education Chair (as well as youngest board member) of the Friends of Colorado Lagoon, she helps coordinate restoration and education programming by working with high school students to restore this lesser-known coastal jewel. She also acts as coordinator for the many Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy stewardship volunteer programs, including Saturday Outdoor Volunteer Days and the Trail Crew, which help repair and maintain more than many miles of trails and 1200 acres within the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve. In all, she works with some 3,000 volunteers.
Adrienne’s Fellowship will enable her to develop a conservation plan that will pay the good work of her own childhood mentors forward by “…mentoring the next wave of up-and-coming environmental thinkers in my community,” she explained. “I want to provide opportunities for youngsters to experience the complexities of conservation first hand, and empower them to make decisions and build skills that will equip them to become agents of positive change.”
Her proposed mentoring program would protect habitat and species in targeted landscapes. For example: a “leadership team” of five to ten high school students with an interest in environmental careers would help develop a habitat restoration plan for the endangered Palos Verdes blue butterfly. The plan would expand the distribution of butterfly host plants, remove the threat of invasive species, grow host plants in the nursery, and partner with the Urban Wildlands Group to rear butterflies in captivity for release. Similar plans could help rehabilitate the threatened California gnatcatcher population on the peninsula.
“While the school system provides a diverse knowledge platform, an inspiring mentor can teach real-world skills through experiential education in a meaningful capacity,” Adrienne added. “I was lucky enough to have a few mentors early in my career that provided opportunities to experience nature and tackle conservation projects that aren’t available to students in a classroom… I want students to feel accomplished in seeing their efforts leave a positive impact on the land and people they work with.”