Monday, June 28, 2021

“Mentoring Future Leaders:"D&R Greenway Welcomes “2021 AWE Fellow” Fabio Yales in Partnership with the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund

This June, through a special partnership supported by The William Penn Foundation, D&R Greenway Land Trust is welcoming Fabio Yales to a summer Fellowship that will focus on environmental work along the Delaware River. D&R Greenway is committed to mentoring future environmental leaders to succeed in their own preservation missions throughout life. A nationally-accredited nonprofit, it has preserved 316 properties, totaling 21,196 acres across New Jersey, since its 1989 founding. The Fellowship is part of the Alliance for Watershed Education (AWE) partnership with 23 nature centers participating throughout the Delaware River watershed. Among the goals of the AWE Fellowship is to introduce young people from diverse communities along the river to the field of environmental science in order to encourage future careers. Yales, whose parents immigrated to the US from Guatemala, lives nearby the river in New Jersey’s capital city of Trenton.

The new Fellow is a 2020 QuestBridge Finalist and College Prep Scholar. A Princeton Day School [PDS] Class of 2021 Honors Student, Yales was a participant in the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s high school mentorship FUTURO Program. In his sophomore year in 2019, Yales worked with the FUTURO program where, in addition to administrative duties [“a little bit of everything”], Yales’ language skills were utilized for Spanish translation. He will work with D&R Greenway into late August, when he departs for his freshman year at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, to which he has been awarded a four-year scholarship. The University’s motto, “Together as a community, serving the greater good” echoes Yales’ personal life mission, as well as D&R Greenway’s commitment to enrich the experience of environmental leaders of tomorrow.

Yales’ Princeton Day School years featured not only scholastic and leadership honors, but also significant photographic skills. He was Manager of Photography for “The Spokesman”, school newspaper, as well as Project Manager of their Photography Club. Since memorable nature images are crucial to expanding awareness of D&R Greenway’s preservation achievements, Yales has already begun chronicling trails and sites of interest along the river for his capstone exhibit with the land trust.

The first introduction that Yales had to the land trust’s work was through LALDEF’s FUTURO Program.  Yale participated in a series of webinars hosted by D&R Greenway during COVID that introduced the LALDEF students to the characteristics of the Delaware River, and invited the students to experience the river and create art. Yales provided his nature photography to inform the land trust’s Delaware River mural project  (above), working with mural artist Marlon Davila. Coincidentally, in his new role, Yales will assist management of D&R Greenway’s upcoming Kayak Education Program at Bordentown Beach, on the banks of the Delaware River. Artist Davila’s river mural decorates the storage structure which will house the land trust’s watercraft. Yales will be sharing his Fellowship time by working over the summer with D&R Greenway and Mercer County’s Tulpehaking Nature Center that focuses on the Abbott Marshlands located in Hamilton Township.

Fabio Yales, D&R Greenway’s new AWE Fellow, reveals his sense of the impact of the months ahead: “This summer presents me the opportunity not only to gain more knowledge about environmental science, but also to be actively engaged, making an impact in my community. I am excited to be working outdoors and learning from those who are really passionate about what they actually do. I am already enrolled in the “Pathfinder Fellows in Environmental Leadership” program, [for Washington University]. This summer is the perfect introduction to the field I will pursue.”

The land trust’s President and CEO Linda Mead is happy to welcome Yales to the organization’s work in community conservation and watershed stewardship, “This year’s Fellow, Fabio Yales, was the competitive winner of the AWE Summer Fellowship.  I couldn’t be more pleased to see our partnership with the LALDEF FUTURO Program grow to a new level, by offering a paid fellowship to one of their graduates.  D&R Greenway’s responsibility to ensure the future of conservation includes preservation and perpetual care of our lands, and inspiring a conservation ethic in young people who will take on future leadership positions in our region and in our country.”