Gladys Ruiz

The TALON Program

"In July 2010, Audubon Society of Portland opened an East Portland office at Leach Botanical Garden to extend its mission and programs to rapidly growing East Metro communities and to engage a younger, more diverse population in conservation action. The decision to establish a presence in East Portland reflects the organization's belief that everyone needs to have a relationship with nature. Since 2004, Audubon Society of Portland has been providing children from diverse communities with summer camp experiences, hoping to spark a lifelong love of nature. Realizing that there is a critical gap of opportunities for high school and college youth from these communities, Audubon Society of Portland created the TALON Program (Teach, Advocate, Learn, Observe, Nurture) to introduce ethnically diverse youth to careers in conservation, wildlife care, and environmental education.

The goal for TALON is to introduce 10 to 12 youth to conservation career options, providing 10-week spring training and paid summer employment opportunities in Audubon Society of Portland programs including education, conservation, wildlife care, and sanctuaries stewardship. The youth will work on conservation issues including enhancement of local green streets to improve storm water infiltration, habitat restoration, and equity and access to nature; gain educational leadership and mentoring skills through a summer camp program; learn about wildlife rehabilitation during the busy summer season in Audubon Society of Portland's Wildlife Care Center and work at restoration and improvement projects throughout the organization’s 150-acre nature sanctuary. By providing these experiences to youth through TALON , project leaders aim to give students the opportunity to choose careers in conservation and environmental education and help to diversify conservation leadership."

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