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Trevor Burke demonstrates how to lay the rock apron erosion control blanket to his youth volunteers at the Connemara Conservancy Meadow Nature Preserve.

DALLAS, TEXAS (APRIL 2018)– In connection with Earth Day 2018, local teenager Trevor Burke conducted a youth-led initiative at the Connemara Conservancy Meadow Nature Preserve to protect and preserve the nearly extinct Blackland Prairie eco-system, considered one of the most threated eco-regions in the world. Currently, less than .01% of the Blackland Prairie exists, and only in scattered parcels across North Texas and Oklahoma. The young people joined millions of others around the globe who are celebrating Global Youth Service Day.

Specifically, Trevor and his team of volunteers constructed a rock apron blanket to prevent erosion and to direct more water into the Upper and Lower Meadow of the Blackland Prairie at the Connemara Conservancy Meadow Nature Preserve (The Meadow). This effort will directly impact the viability of the native grasses in the Blackland Prairie at The Meadow.  

Burke, a high school junior at St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas, Texas, is an avid young environmentalist. He has given a TEDx Talk on his efforts to save the Blackland Prairie, and conducted significant youth-led conservation projects over the past five years, including removing invasive grasses, planting native grasses, and working with wildlife biologists at Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area and The Meadow to reintroduce pen-raised threatened Northern Bobwhite Quail back into the Blackland Prairie.

To fund his environmental projects, Trevor has received a Disney Friends for Change grant, a Scooby Doo DO GOOD grant, and an Allstate grant at WE Day Texas where he was recognized as a “significant changemaker who is doing good and impacting his community.”

Global Youth Service Day recognizes the positive impact that young people have on their communities 365 days a year. GYSD is celebrated in more than 100 countries with youth-led service projects and community events. “We know that young people are uniquely suited to help solve problems - if given the opportunity,” said Steven A. Culbertson, CEO and president of YSA (Youth Service America), the leader of GYSD. “Today’s social and environmental problems are immense; we need youth in Dallas, Texas to be leaders and problem solvers today, not just the leaders of a distant tomorrow.”

“Our rock apron blanket project was a great success -- and a lot of fun!” said Burke. “We had over 30 volunteers working together to make a difference in our local environment.”  Texas Master Naturalist and Meadow Preserve Manager Bob Mione added, “We are so very fortunate to have Trevor and his team of Boy Scouts working on this erosion project.  We have been trying to address this for a couple of years and, thanks to Trevor and his team, it is now complete.  This project will halt the significant erosion which the Meadow was experiencing after every heavy rain and allow the Blackland Prairie and native grasses to grow and flourish.  We are grateful to young people like Trevor who are committed to preserving our Texas heritage.”