BASE Graduate, Ishmael Akahoho Credit: Larry Federman
In 2003, when the Prospect Park Alliance partnered with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the New York City Department of Education to establish the Brooklyn Academy of Science and the Environment (BASE), the goal was to provide a better educational setting while incorporating field study in Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Students would supplement classroom teaching about science, nature, and the environment to make learning fun and engaging and hopefully even grow a few green thumbs. Well, Ishmael Akahoho shines as a stellar example of BASE’s impact on the lives of its students.
Ishmael and current BASE student, Sherryann Thomas at a Dragonfly Expedition
Credit: Larry Federman
As a BASE student Ishmael took part in multiple field-based learning expeditions, including Dragonfly Expeditions and Garden Crew. He was also a Park Youth Rep and worked at the Audubon Center for a year. As a student, Ishmael also joined the Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) through The Nature Conservancy and it rejuvenated his love for the environment. “While doing my first LEAF internship in 2009, we removed invasive species on a large farm in Block Island. I remembered my grandfather and I working on the farm and as the month progressed, I started redeveloping my love and curiosity for nature,” Ishmael shared in his recent feature on The Nature Conservancy. Ishmael went on to graduate from BASE in 2011 as a Gates Millenium Scholar and the class salutatorian. He is now pursuing his bachelor's degree in Environmental Sustainability Health and Safety at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.
As he charts his own path as a budding conservationist, his hard work is not going unnoticed. In addition to his recent feature on The Nature Conservancy, Ishmael has also been featured on EBONY.com for his environmental work as a millennial. Millennials are described as the generation born between 1980 and 1994 and often the topic of much discussion around societal culture shifts, including professional development, social justice and environmental sustainability. EBONY.com writer, Galisia Croom writes, “Polls show Millennials are pro-environment and believe we can solve major global challenges like climate change if we take action now.” Ishmael is unique because he is also a millennial of color and his ability to pave the way for other millennials of color is evident. “So the question is not whether youth and people of color care about protecting our lands and waters. A quick look at history, today’s voting and polling trends, and leaders like Ishmael have answered that for us,” pens Croom.
Right: Ishmael working in The Children’s Garden at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
While Ishmael is studying and helping to save our planet, he has not forgotten his family at BASE. He returned to BASE last summer as a chaperone on one of Dragonfly Expeditions he enjoyed so much as a student. The energy Ishmael brought on the trip is described as ‘contagious enthusiasm’ by Lauren Morris, Partnership Director for the Prospect Park Alliance, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and BASE. “When people ask us why we are doing the work that we are at BASE, we often point to Ishmael as an example, “says Lauren.
We’re very proud of Ishmael and all of his accomplishments here at the Alliance. We look forward to nothing but great things to come!
Ishmael helping students in The Children’s Garden at Brooklyn Botanic Garden