This summer EarthWays welcomed our first virtual Sustainability Education interns, Molly and Emma, who helped immensely during this time of remote work! Learn what inspired them to join our team and make a difference!
First up, Molly: "I have always been someone who has loved spending time outdoors, observing plants and animals, and learning about our ecosystems, so I think a passion for sustainability was a natural result from these interests. However, it wasn’t until I took a course on Contemporary Environmental Issues at the University of Iowa that I learned how serious our climate crisis is. I added a minor in Environmental Policy & Planning to my major in Psychology and decided I would try to combine these two areas of study in a career field working to protect the environment.
This aspiration led me to explore summer internship opportunities through the Missouri Botanical Garden. As soon as I learned about the EarthWays Center, the Sustainability Education Internship seemed like a perfect fit. As a lifelong St. Louisan, I have always enjoyed visiting the Botanical Garden and attending its various events throughout the year, and this internship offered me a unique opportunity to work for the sustainability division of the Garden and learn more about its programs in my own community.
Working with the EarthWays Center has allowed me to expand upon my knowledge base from environmental coursework at college. Concepts I have learned in classes, such as the pillars of sustainability, forms of renewable energy, and contributors to climate change come up every day in my work with the EarthWays Center. I have also thoroughly enjoyed the creative process of translating these concepts into accessible programs and activities for people of all ages.
My internship this summer has confirmed my desire to work in the environmental sector to fight climate change and build a more sustainable future. It has also inspired me to look for ways I can have the biggest impact in this field, such as working on community outreach programs and furthering my education on environmental policies and legislature. I am a firm believer that everyone has the power to make a positive impact on the environment, so I have loved seeing how the EarthWays Center embodies this notion and shares it in the community."
-Molly Hooks, 2020 EarthWays Sustainability Education Intern
Next let's hear from Emma - "Hello, everyone! My name is Emma, and I’m one of two interns working with the EarthWays Center this summer. If you are interested in learning a bit about me, I’ll be graduating this upcoming semester from the University of Missouri - Columbia (MIZ!) with a degree in environmental science with an emphasis in outreach and education. I am an identical twin, I have two cats at home (Turkey and Toast, both girls), and when I’m not working, I love to go hiking or read!
Like many before me, I spent a large chunk of my childhood immersed in nature. I did not realize what a profound effect the outdoors had on me, however, until I reached high school. I had always cared about the environment and fretted over things like landfills, animal extinction
rates, and climate change, but I never really knew where I should direct my efforts if I wanted to get more involved. Then, my junior year of high school, I took an AP environmental science course on a whim. That class completely changed my perspective on how to go about things, and I realized that conservation and sustainability are what I want to dedicate my life to.
After I had my epiphany, I decided that my primary focus in regards to sustainability would be outreach and education. I think teaching people of all ages and backgrounds is crucial to keeping sustainability efforts alive, and educating others on the importance of conservation and sustainability can help make lasting changes that have positive impacts on one’s community and the environment.
It was this decision that lead me to the latest leg of my journey, the EarthWays Center! I’ve lived in Missouri my whole life, so I have become very familiar with the STL area through family trips to places like the Saint Louis Zoo and the Missouri Botanical Garden. When I was searching for internships this summer, I was really hoping to find a position close to home and something that was oriented around education, and my grandmother suggested I check out the Garden website. Lo and behold, the EarthWays internship was exactly the kind of experience I was hoping for!"
-Emma Schillinger, 2020 EarthWays Sustainability Education Intern
The Garden offers unpaid internships designed for you to obtain academic credit or credentials to fulfill requirements of an apprenticeship or to experience professional development, perhaps in an area new to your career. Unpaid interns receive free admission to the Garden, as well as discounts at our retail shops and Sassafras Cafe during the internship period. Learn more!