Meet our Outdoor Leadership Corps Restoration Assistants!

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 Meet our Outdoor Leadership Corps Restoration Assistants!

The Outdoor Leadership Corps(OLC) was created in partnership with Great Rivers Greenway in order to engage Outdoor Youth Corps alumni, local horticulture students, and others who are interested in pursuing a career in horticulture, conservation, ecological restoration, or other environmental based career paths. The OLC program focuses on restoration projects along the Great Rivers Greenway trails including prairie restoration, blub plantings, litter clean ups, invasive species removal, and general greenway beautification. 

Briana Robles

Education background: 2021 graduate of Webster University with B.A. Biology (and Sustainability Studies minor); Certificate of Proficiency in Horticulture from St. Louis Community College - Meramec in-progress (estimated time of graduation Fall 2024).

Missouri Botanical Garden work: Ecological restoration projects along the Mississippi Greenway in partnership with Great Rivers Greenway. 

Favorite part of the job? Learning new techniques for ecological restoration, working on plant/ tree ID, & getting to impact the greater STL community. 

What keeps you inspired? Trying to be the change I want to see in the world! 

What do you like to DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? I love quality time with loved ones, time outdoors, yoga, eating/ cooking, and recently trying rock climbing & basket-weaving.

Nate Schulhofer 


Education background: Bachelor's of Science, restoration ecology.

Missouri Botanical Garden work: Assisting Great Rivers Greenway in maintaining the Greenway walking paths around St. Louis alongside other outreach programs.

Favorite part of the job? I absolutely love working with my team in the Leadership Corp. That and improving my community.

What keeps you inspired? Anything to make a difference matters, we're all on this planet together and if we don't make it better for each other than nothing will change.

What do you like to DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? I'd like to say I don't take work home with me, but I'm as much of a "dirt nerd" at home as I am on the clock. Gardening, hiking, yard work, all great stuff! I also do original flavor nerd things too. Tabletop and video games, superhero movies, the whole nine yards.

Rose Mertens


Education background: I have a BFA in painting and art history from KCAI and am currently in the horticulture program at STLCC Meramec.

Missouri Botanical Garden work: Working at the Garden as a restoration assistant with the OLC.

Favorite part of the job? Favorite part of the job is being outdoors and doing something positive for the community.

What keeps you inspired? My son keeps me inspired. 

What do you like to DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? some things I like to do outside of work are reading, gardening, and visiting museums and parks. 

Persia Taylor


Education background: My first job in horticulture was working with the California Conservation Corps and what we did was make horse trails, fuel reduction, and when needed (which was every summer) we'd have to go out to fires to support the firefighters. Working for Turtle Bay Exploration Park as a groundskeeper I learned more about the native plants to CA and how to properly maintain multiple city attractions. It gets really hot and dry in Redding, CA so I learned a lot about all of the drought resistant plants on the property and about the outdated irrigation system that kept them alive.

Missouri Botanical Garden work: What we do in the program right now is work with GRG to maintain and beautify the greenway. Our goal is to be contracted by many companies so that we can help younger generations find where they best fit in the sustainability and conservation field.

Favorite part of the job? I enjoy working with my team on any project but most of all I enjoy learning about the major impact MBG has on the city and the world, visiting the Bayer building was a real eye opener for me!

What do you like to DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Outside of work I hope to get back into the theater scene but my house is requiring all my attention right now, hopefully this summer I'll be able to enjoy some river days and make a trip back home to see my family and go mushroom hunting!

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