A prairie is preferable New Yorkers say
By Michael Johnson, Editor
It’s not likely you run into many New Yorkers while out in the prairies of North Dakota. Thanks to the LEAF program through the Nature Conservancy, four New York students had the opportunity of a lifetime to work on the ranch at the Nature Conservancy near Cross Ranch Preserve along the Missouri River. The Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program provides paid summer internships for high school students and helps educators from environmental high schools share best practices and scientific resources. It sounded like a great opportunity to learn and grow for students like Syed Alam, Henry Dlhopolsky, Nazeeh Muhammad-Myers and Ziliang Wu. Three of the boys are from New York City, while Nazeeh is from New Jersey. The four boys embarked on a journey to Minnesota and began their internship at Weaver Dunes, a unique sand terrace formed by the Mississippi, Zombra and Chippewa rivers. This was a trying location as the boys fought with flies and heat out in this sandy prairie. While there, they learned about the native species and learned about planting of grasses on the prairie. They spent two weeks there before coming to the Cross Ranch Preserve. There they worked with preserve manager Eric Rosenquist and Chris Gordon, both of the Nature Conservancy. They were put to work mending and erecting fences for the reserves bison herd, painting the buildings that have been a part of the ranch for decades and learning about the native grasses and animals that fill the open range in the area.