Brower Youth Awards

Xerxes Libsch

White Plains, NY

Restoring and creating an educational wild space

Xerxes Libsch spent his childhood summers at a camp on upstate New York’s Muscoot Farm, which breeds rare animals. The camp offered Libsch an opportunity to combine his love for the outdoors and animals, and left a lasting impression on him. To show his gratitude, he decided to spearhead a restoration project on the farm that the staff didn’t have capacity for.

Through partnerships with farm staff, the Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and local businesses, Libsch and his team of 25 volunteers installed 22 birdhouses for declining native bird species, cleared an 800 square-foot area of deeply rooted invasive species, and created a half-mile nature trail. Libsch was also able to prevent two tons of animal waste from contaminating a nearby drinking water reservoir. In addition, his team erected an environmental learning center that provides information about the farm to the 600 summer campers and 135,000 guests who visit each year and has helped transform the farm into an inspiring and educational wild space.