Teen conservationist program marks 35 years

From left, Mary Hull, Rebecca Wayland, Alan Barry, Kimbery Terrenoire, Ann Egbert, Christina Nappi, First Selectman Peter Tesei, Selectman Drew Marzullo, Frank Smurlo and Carol McGreevey.

From left, Mary Hull, Rebecca Wayland, Alan Barry, Kimbery Terrenoire, Ann Egbert, Christina Nappi, First Selectman Peter Tesei, Selectman Drew Marzullo, Frank Smurlo and Carol McGreevey.

With summer fast approaching, teens who participate in the Greenwich Youth Conservation Project (GYCP) are ready to kick it into high gear.

According to Christina Nappi, GYCP director, the GYCP is out in full force during summer, with participants digging, planting, pruning and maintaining Greenwich town parks, schools and other properties. Conservation professionals supervise the teens as they create butterfly gardens, remove invasive vines and overgrowth, and plant trees and flowers. When their work day is over, the teens receive additional training from guest speakers on topics such as developing job skills, managing personal finances and local environmental and conservation issues.

Ms. Nappi said she feels very fortunate to work directly with the teens.

“They come from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds and are students at both public and private middle and high schools,” she said.

Ms. Nappi also shared a few quotes from the anonymous survey participants complete at the end of their sessions, including “I learned that if you treat people as equals and with respect, you can work as a team to accomplish anything” and “I learned what it feels like to have a real job, and I was able to make a difference in our town and the environment.”

Ann Egbert, who originated the idea for the GYCP in 1978 when she worked for the Department of Social Services, shared how she saw a need in Greenwich for teens to have a constructive outlet for their time during the summer. She expressed how gratifying it is to see that the program is growing and still fulfilling that need 35 years later.

First Selectman Peter Tesei congratulated the organization on 35 years of success, calling the GYCP “a great example” of a successful public-private partnership. He recalled a visit he made to a GYCP worksite in Byram two years ago, and expressed that one of the best aspects of the program is that the teens get to see the results of their hard work when projects are completed.

For more information about the GYCP, contact Christina Nappi, program director at 203-622-7792 or [email protected]

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