Outreach Highlight – Ryleigh’s Conservation Journey

Ryleigh L. profile photo

After their field school experience, Wildlife Leadership Academy alumni engage in outreach projects and become ambassadors for conservation in their community. In this blog post, we shine a spotlight on Ryleigh L., a passionate Bucktails alumni who has seamlessly translated her love for nature into impactful community projects.

Since completing the PA Bucktails field school in June, Ryleigh started a Conservation Club at her school. The club’s mission is to spread community awareness of our natural resources, use and appreciate the beauty of our natural environment, work with the PA Fish & Boat Commission and Game Commission on various projects and education, and educate the community about wildlife conservation and preservation. From recruiting members during Freshman Orientation to designing eye-catching flyers for school hallways and leveraging social media to share the club’s activities, Ryleigh has played a pivotal role in making conservation a community-wide effort. The club’s fall projects included hands-on activities like weeding and maintaining the high school courtyard and engaging in sustainable practices such as composting leaves. Most recently, the Conservation Club has been gearing up for a visit from a local game warden who will be giving an educational talk in January, as well as preparing for the Envirothon.

Ryleigh and her mom standing next to the water at Montour Preserve
Ryleigh and her mother at Montour Preserve.

In addition to her Conservation Club efforts, Ryleigh has mentored others on hikes at State Parks in her area. While on these hikes with her family and friends, Ryleigh uses her time outdoors to capture stunning nature photos. She says that she loves to take photos of animals, mushrooms, and other things in nature. She is one of WLA’s featured Photo Friday Specialists, and you can see her nature photos on our social media platforms. Ryleigh states, “I hope people see my photos and it makes them want to explore nature too.”

Bright orange flower with a small yellow bee on it
One of Ryleigh’s nature photographs.

Ryleigh has also completed multiple projects in the Creative Arts outreach category. Her outreach record book is full of sketches, drawings, and digital illustrations. Ryleigh has expanded her skills and has begun making jewelry as a unique creative arts project. She uses materials such as rocks, plants, and seeds that she finds on her hikes. Her favorite technique is to dry out plants that she collects and then create jewelry out of them using resin. She says that it makes the jewelry special for the people she gives it to.

Three jewelry pieces made from wire and rocks
Jewelry pieces that Ryleigh created using materials she collected from nature.

These projects are only a glimpse into all the good work our Conservation Ambassadors are doing in their home communities. We are so proud of Ryleigh and her accomplishments on her outreach journey. We are confident that her passion will continue to drive meaningful impact in her community and beyond.

The photos used in this blog belong to Ryleigh L., a Bucktails alumni.