Our summer intern Aaron Troncoso works with us from afar and has a deep interest in preserving wild lands and waters. Here’s how he made his way to Trustees for Alaska via Zoom.
Hello all! I’m a rising second-year joint degree student at Yale Law School and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. I grew up in New York City, and discovered my passion for protecting our shared environment and public lands while on a backpacking trip with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Wyoming. Since then, I’ve spent most of my time working on a bunch of different parts of the climate crisis.
Eventually, I decided to go back to school so I could learn skills that would help me make change on a bigger scale. I knew that for my first internship in law school, I wanted to work with a group of smart, innovative, and dedicated attorneys working in (and with) local communities to preserve some of our country’s most precious wild lands and waters. Trustees was just such a place.
While working at Trustees this summer, I’ve completed research projects on the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act—key environmental laws that help protect communities and public lands in Alaska from huge, risky, and environmentally damaging projects like the proposed Pebble Mine. I’ve learned so much about these laws, and more generally, about how diverse coalitions—like the one defending Bristol Bay—work together towards common legal goals.
While I had been excited to go to Alaska for the first time and spend time in Anchorage, unfortunately the challenges posed by the pandemic made it impractical for me to work in-person over the summer. I am so grateful to the legal team at Trustees for being willing to work with me over Zoom. It’s certainly been a unique summer experience! The four-hour time difference means the occasional evening phone call—and while my team members in Alaska are happy that temperatures have just started hitting 70, I’ve been timing my daily runs to avoid afternoon highs of 90+ degrees. In these challenging times, I am so thankful for the work that the incredible team at Trustees is doing to safeguard our country’s most special places. I’ve learned so much already in the last few weeks, and I look forward to continuing to work with this smart and dedicated team.”