U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres to Award $1,178,406 in Community Project Funding to the Wildlife Conservation Society

Nov 06, 2023

Bronx, N.Y.- U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) today awarded $1,178,406 in Community Project Funding to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a nonprofit that operates the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium and is dedicated to conserving and promoting the Earth’s natural habitats and biodiversity.

“I am proud to announce a new partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society that will expand youth employment here in the Bronx,” said U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “We are investing more that $1.7 million in federal funds to establish a new youth employment center that will offer more than 208 positions to Bronx youth. We are going to offer Bronx students the opportunity to study and do research under the guidance of scientists here at WCS — a few students will even have the opportunity to do field research in Puerto Rico. We are offering students a path out of poverty and a pipeline into STEM careers, of which The Bronx has historically been underrepresented. The Bronx Zoo is one of the jewels in the crown of The Bronx, so I’m deeply grateful for the partnership of the Wildlife Conservation Society.”

The funding, which Rep. Torres successfully secured in the final Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, will go towards a new internship initiative which is part of WCS’s career pathway programs called the WCS Career Lattice. The Career Lattice Program will:

  • Offer 200 stipended internships to Bronx college students.  
  • Develop partnerships with Bronx based colleges and universities to recruit local Bronx college students for high quality internships in WCS parks. 
  • Create expansive learning opportunities in STEM including research opportunities withNY Seascape program.
  • Support a field research learning opportunity for 15 students in Puerto Rico next spring. 

Said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, “At WCS, we appreciate Rep. Torres for always working in Congress to secure support for the Bronx community. His recent work to obtain $1.1 million for STEM internships with the Bronx Zoo will help ensure the success of many aspiring scientists and conservationists in our community. These funds will support our paid internship program, which offers 380 science-focused internships in NYC. We thank Rep. Torres and all our partners in this program, including Bronx Community College, SUNY Maritime, Fordham University, and Lehman College.”

In the final Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, Rep. Torres was able to successfully secure more than $16.2 million in funding for 15 community projects that will directly respond to the most pressing needs of the Bronx, including expanding opportunities for middle class families and small businesses, strengthening access to quality healthcare and education, and reversing decades of disinvestment.


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