Kimberly Gonzalez, Tom Boothe Adirondack Intern
AdkAction created the Tom Boothe Adirondack Internship Program to honor the legacy of past Board Chair Tom Boothe, who passed away unexpectedly in October 2020 at the age of 71. Tom was known for bringing friends from around the world to introduce them to the immense natural beauty of the Adirondack Park, and was particularly motivated to engage young people in the work of making a positive impact on our region’s communities.
To honor Tom’s commitment to serving the people of the Adirondacks, as well as his enthusiasm for enjoying the outdoors, the internship provides opportunities for both professional growth and recreational exploration of the region. We’re proud to introduce our very first Tom Boothe Adirondack Intern: Kimberly Gonzalez.
Kimberly is a junior at Binghamton University studying environmental science with a specialization in ecosystems and a history minor. Originally from the rural town of Barryville, NY, Kim has always had a relationship with the natural world and a desire to sustain it. Growing up on a small family farm, she values a relationship with the land and access to fresh, local food— relationships she believes everyone has a right to access. Because of this passion, Kim joined AdkAction to work on the Fair Food Pricing and Farmacy projects.
This summer, you’ll find Kim working on a new community farming program, and working to help limited-income families learn about and enroll in AdkAction’s Fair Food Pricing program that reduces the cost of locally-produced foods.
“I want to lead a life that is based on sustainable principles that help others,” Kim said of what she ultimately hopes to gain from the experience. “I’d like to see that in 20 years I’ve helped my community to be resilient to climate change, be economically stable, and be sustainable for future generations. I believe AdkAction will teach me how to approach situations within a community for these changes.”
In her application, Kim shared that she was excited to have an opportunity to get to know the Adirondacks better. Her first experience visiting the region was at the age of 19 to go on a hike with a friend. “As we drove on Route 9, I was in awe of the change in landscape, the height of the trees, and the absolute beauty of the area,” she said. “I look to the mountains for peace.”
Before joining AdkAction, Kim interned for Radiant Earth Foundation and City & State NY, where she worked on communications and journalism. Kim loves to read a good book in the sun, hike, swim, kayak, and take pictures of birds. She also enjoys cooking but will never profess to be good at the trade as she shared that she regularly burns her meals.
Grace Leightheiser & Emily Schwartz, Colgate Interns
Grace Leightheiser is joining AdkAction this summer to work on our Adirondack Pollinator Project. She’ll be planting eleven community pollinator gardens that were awarded through our Pollinator Garden Assistance Program, all across the Adirondacks. Grace will also be doing some pollinator outreach, including sending out our free wildflower seed packets, face painting butterflies and bees at farmers markets during Pollinator Week, and helping out with our annual native plant sale.
Grace is about to enter her senior year at Colgate University, where she is majoring in Environmental Studies and Molecular Biology. She plans to use her experience with the Pollinator Project to learn more about the ways in which environmental stewardship and community building can work together. She intends to go into medicine or public health and believes that these connections matter greatly for people’s well-being.
Emily Schwartz is joining AdkAction this summer to work on our Road Salt and Fair Food Pricing Project. Emily will be assisting on a variety of Road Salt projects including municipality outreach, quality assurance project plan creation, and road salt coalition research. Emily will also be helping to develop and roll out our Fair Food Pricing coupon program at the Saranac Lake and Lake Placid Farmers Markets.
Emily is a recent graduate from Colgate University, where she studied Environmental Studies, Geology, and Geography. In the fall, Emily intends to study Environmental Law at the University of Maryland Carey Law School. She plans to use the experiences gained from her internship, including community capacity building, environmental stewardship, and advocacy, to inform her area of focus in law school and career path. In her free time, Emily can be found exploring the diverse variety of forests and mountain views that the Adirondack Park has to offer.