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The Jentsch bequest: a gift that keeps giving.

Imagine giving the American Forestry Association a 25 percent increase in the organization's capacity to serve its members, or giving each of the professional staff members a second set of eyes and ears.

Imagine giving two dozen or more college juniors and seniors a chance to work in Washington, DC, at the headquarters of a national conservation organization.

Frederick P. Jentsch accomplished both with a bequest that today funds most of AFA's Jentsch Internship Program. Without it, AFA would be 10,000 hours short of the work we accomplished last year, and a fine bunch of college students would be without four of the most stimulating months of their young careers.

What is perhaps most interesting about a bequest to AFA is that-like a tree-the gift becomes a living thing, a way of continuing support for the good things that AFA does far into the future. Equally important, such gifts can also become ways for others to learn about AFA and to take those lessons into their own lives.

Many of the students who come here thanks to the Jentsch Internship Program know little about the history of conservation in the United States and little about AFA when they start. They bring good training in academic disciplines, and we add good experience in the world of a nonprofit conservation group with a proud history. The lifelong result for the students is an understanding and appreciation for the work of the American Forestry Association, an appreciation obviously shared by Frederick Jentsch of Buffalo, New York.

Jentsch interns come from all over the world. Our very first class, which arrived in the spring of 1989, included home addresses in Finland and Sweden. Since then, 26 students from 14 states and three foreign countries have put their shoulders to the AFA wheel and helped us all push it a little farther down the road.

Each intern works under the general direction of myself as the intern coordinator. I place them in one of 10 distinct assignments. For each assignment, a senior AFA staffer serves as the content supervisor. The standing joke in the office is that it's Allan Comp's job to assure that the interns have a good experience-and the content supervisors' job to work them hard. And they do ! The students agree that the attention, support, and professional experience they receive are exceptional. But don't think that the Jentsch bequest does a -nice thing" for students and little for AFA. Those 10 fields include advertising/marketing, policy, development, urban forestry, communications, editorial, research, management, international, and Global ReLeaf-virtually every major task ongoing at AFA. Ask any staffer how useful the interns are to our ever-expanding mission, and you'll receive a very positive reply.

For a real measure of the interns' usefulness, watch the eyes of staff members as the interns leave for home at the end of their term, and their supervisors realize the next class won't be on deck for another four weeks.

As an example of the assistance provided by interns, last term Susan Young worked with jennifer Salandi in marketing and advertising. Writing for her supervisor back at school, Susan summarized her accomplishments:

* Corresponded daily by letters and phone calls with clients and potential clients to sell ad space and further business relationships;

* Attended hearings on the Hill involving AFA;

* Attended a student conference for environmental planning;

* Almost doubled our classified ad income in AMERICAN FORESTS;

* Helped increase the percentage of paid advertising in AMERICAN FORESTS from 15 percent in November/ December to 17 percent in January/ February.

And after finishing all that hard work, Susan then described her content supervisor as an "energetic" person "truly concerned with my learning and gaining experience."

That's the combination of good support and real experience that brings expanded hours to AFA and expanded horizons to our interns-not to mention more advertising for the magazine.

Beyond this kind of daily help for AFA, there are other longer-term benefits as well. Sending two dozen or more young leaders out into the world each year with a real working knowledge of AFA and the conservation world will reap benefits for many years. Often interns change their career plans as a result of their work at AFA and decide to make conservation their lifelong commitment.

Eric Reeder graduated from the University of Washington, spent his internship with Dr. Gerald Gray in policy, and has now decided to go after a Ph.D. in forestry. "The Jentsch program at AFA helped me clarify my objectives," says Eric, "and gave me a close look at my future work environment."

Landscape architecture student Albert Joerger finished a summer term with AFA and went back to Cornell with a new sense of just what forestry could be. This spring he won the William Frederich Dreer Award from the Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture Department at Cornell and will be doing research in Costa Rica for the next year, studying natural reserves, landscape restoration, and urban tropical forestry. He intends to start a Global ReLeaf effort as part of his project. The Jentsch bequest brought Albert a new and wider perspective. At the same time, it brought AFA a new activist who will carry the Global ReLeaf message to Costa Rica.

For 10 weeks this summer, AFA expects to have a dozen interns working at AFA House. Beyond their welcome willingness to do their part, they also bring a fresh spirit, a fresh perspective, and hard questions-the kind we all need to answer once in a while. They will work 41/2 days a week, and the 4,000 hours they contribute will allow more attention to be given to our Global ReLeaf partners, our publications and programs, and other efforts.

All this is the gift of one man who cared about American forests.


While the Jentsch bequest for intern help is making a big difference every day at AFA, there are other continuing areas of need.

In the past two years, AFA has gratefully acknowledged the receipt of other bequests, from members who wanted to make a lasting contribution to our forested world. Though we continue to rely on member support and are working hard to encourage greater corporate help for Global ReLeaf and other AFA programs, bequests enable us to put a little polish on AFA, to take that extra step, or pay for equipment we need now but otherwise can't pull out of the budget.

Anyone interested in learning more about wills, bequests, and other ways to create a lasting legacy should contact Rick Crouse at AFA, P.O. Box 2000, Washington, DC 20013. Or call him at 202-1667-3300.
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Title Annotation:includes related information; American Forestry Association's Jentsch Internship Program
Author:Comp, T. Allan
Publication:American Forests
Date:Jul 1, 1990
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