- Wildlife

Working in direction of a brighter, greener future for our cities

Rio Ceballos, Argentina, the place Lucy Crespo was born.

Way back to she will be able to bear in mind, Lucy Crespo hasn’t favored being indoors. Perhaps it’s in her genes: she was born in Argentina, surrounded by forests and mountains, lush grass and vegetation, and rivers that ran by her residence. The air was crisp and candy, the water clear.

That’s all a distant reminiscence for her now. When she was 4 years outdated, Lucy and her household left residence seeking a greater and extra affluent life, finally settling hundreds of miles away in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Lucy Crespo at age 5 together with her mom Maria and sister Denise.

“Rising up within the metropolis was harsh, particularly for an immigrant household. It was onerous looking for your home,” Lucy mentioned.

Elizabeth’s seemingly infinite sprawl of concrete, lights and high-rises was a far cry from the colourful pure magnificence they’d left behind in Argentina, however Lucy’s dad and mom had been decided she and her little sister would develop up with a connection to the pure world. They started in search of out native parks and different pockets of nature throughout the metropolis, and shortly, annual tenting journeys grew to become a household custom, providing respite from life’s challenges and a reminder of residence.

“My dad and mom didn’t have the cash to take us on fancy holidays, however as an alternative they confirmed us how you can recognize nature and share it with folks round us,” she mentioned.

Years later, Lucy has a household of her personal, elevating her son within the metropolis she grew to like. She’s additionally utilized her dad and mom’ classes: In her new function as an city neighborhood engagement specialist with the Nationwide Wildlife Refuge Affiliation, Lucy works intently with us to make sure entry to nature for the underserved communities and households who want it most.


Lucy Crespo.

Laying the groundwork

Lucy works with the Lenape Nationwide Wildlife Refuge Complicated in Elizabeth and Yonkers, New York, in addition to the encircling metropolitan space, to increase the attain and impression of our conservation efforts. Via shut collaboration with all kinds of companions and different events, she identifies and breaks down boundaries between city communities and nature and its many advantages. Her place, funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Northeast Area and the Nationwide Wildlife Refuge Affiliation, is new to her, however Lucy’s been laying the muse to excel at this work for a few years. Previous to taking over this newest function, she labored for environmental non-profit Groundwork Elizabeth, a key participant in our Elizabeth City Wildlife Refuge Partnership. She found them when she was nonetheless in highschool.

“I used to be volunteering for my faculty at an area occasion, and there I noticed a Groundwork sales space with plenty of vegetation round it. I requested in the event that they had been on the lookout for volunteers,” she mentioned.

The prospect interplay grew to become a decade-long profession for Lucy. She developed shut working relationships with Service employees and lots of native companions, giving her a window into the wants and considerations of traditionally underserved and nature-deprived communities.


Lucy Crespo and her son Enzo with Groundwork Elizabeth and Service employees at Nice Swamp Nationwide Wildlife Refuge.
Lucy Crespo with Groundwork Hudson Valley members at City Fish and Wildlife Restoration Web site in Yonkers

One take a look at her observe report and it’s clear: Lucy can do all of it. With Groundwork Elizabeth, she organized dozens of enormous occasions and cleanups; helped lead tree plantings and different city habitat enchancment tasks; created and led academic applications and guided walks; served as director of youth initiatives, devoted to rising profession alternatives for city youth within the conservation subject; and when wanted, acted as an interpreter for Spanish audio system locally – a ability she honed as a baby decoding for her dad and mom.

Chelsi Burns, the Service’s regional City Wildlife Conservation Program coordinator, shared, “We’re thrilled to be working with Lucy on this place together with her intensive native experiences throughout the Elizabeth neighborhood. We stay up for having her construct upon these relationships in Yonkers as properly, the place her experience will assist promote community-based conservation for the well being and wellness of individuals and wildlife.”

Workers on the Lenape Nationwide Wildlife Refuge Complicated attribute a lot of their success in Elizabeth to passionate conservationists like Lucy.

“She’s served as an inspiration to numerous Elizabeth, New Jersey, youth and Service employees and companions,” mentioned Jared Inexperienced, Customer Providers Supervisor for the Complicated. “We’re so excited to have her as a part of our group, with the superb work on behalf of the Elizabeth and Yonkers City Wildlife Refuge partnerships that she has already achieved and the brand new neighborhood tasks she can be taking over sooner or later.”

No matter she pursues subsequent, we might be certain Lucy will lead with empathy and compassion for many who have lived on the margins as she has.

“I need to be often called a younger Argentinian DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] recipient who strived to enhance city forests and habitats for these cities. I need to be an instance for immigrant households, exhibiting them that we will work in conservation, that we belong in open areas and that we belong on this nation like everybody else,” she mentioned.

With 13 lively City Partnership cities within the Northeast Area, we hope Lucy’s place is the primary of a number of. Learn extra concerning the partnership work occurring in Elizabeth, Yonkers, and past within the City Wildlife Conservation within the Northeast Area library assortment.

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