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Inspiring Outdoors: A Glimpse into Season Three of the Outdoor Leadership Corps

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Inspiring Outdoors: A Glimpse into Season Three of the Outdoor Leadership Corps

After a successful launch in the spring of 2022, the partnership between the Missouri Botanical Garden and Great Rivers Greenway has grown even stronger as we continue to develop and expand the Outdoor Leadership Corps (OLC) program. The dedicated OLC Restoration Assistants (RAs), who are valued members of our Garden team, work part time, 3-4 days a week. Under the leadership of our Conservation Education Instructor, Olivia Dove, the crew actively engages in a wide variety of tasks encompassing conservation efforts, horticulture activities and community engagement events!

The crew’s first project this season has focused on a retired hay field along the Meramec Greenway. Using a combination of machine and hand tools, they’ve skillfully cleared overgrown vegetation surrounding native tree plantings installed over the past four years. The crew will return to this same area later in the season to plant additional native trees. These plantings will replace trees that may have perished and to also fill gaps in fostering a habitat that aligns with the historical characteristics of the Saint Louis County Parks: Lower Meramec Park.

The OLC program was created to provide opportunities for Outdoor Youth Corps alumni, local college students, and individuals interested in pursuing careers in conservation, horticulture, ecological restoration, or other environmental fields. This season, we are finding that our reach extended to candidates not only from our local community, but also across the nation. This broadened scope allowed us to engage with a diverse pool of talent, drawing individuals to the greater St. Louis area to support and diversify environmental jobs that are found here. This season the leadership team, Fletcher, Community Programs Supervisor, and Olivia Dove, both new Garden employees as of early July, are focusing on building hands-on skills, providing mentorship, and professional development that will set the crew members up for success in their future careers.

The OLC program consists of two seasons: spring (end of January to beginning of May) and fall (mid-September to mid-December) each year. During these seasons, participants engage in a diverse range of conservation activities on the greenways, professional development workshops, conservation trainings, and community engagement events. The program not only fosters teamwork among crew members, but also offers opportunities for each RA to take on leadership roles, equipping them with valuable tools for their future careers. If you are interested, or know someone who might be interested in these positions, look for the “Restoration Assistant” job posting on the Garden’s website in November for the spring season, and June for the fall season. If you have any questions contact Fletcher: mfletcher@mobot.org


Meet our current staff working behind the Outdoor Youth Corps and Outdoor Leadership Corps magic!

Fletcher: Community Programs Coordinator

Fletcher_M(1)

I could not be more excited to be a part of the early stages of the Outdoor Leadership Corp program. As a 2019 graduate non-traditional student in conservation biology, I personally experienced the scarcity of mentorship, skill development opportunities, and clear career guidance within the field of conservation. This experience fueled my continued dedication to provide support, professional growth, and hands-on experience to youth and young adults who share a deep curiosity or a strong passion for careers in conservation. There is no place I can envision more fitting than the Missouri Botanical Garden to apply my skills and passions in contribution to the Outdoor Youth and Leadership Corps programs. Olivia, our dedicated and talented Conservation Education Instructor, and I are united by this shared passion, and we draw upon our collective experiences to continually enhance the program, benefiting both the individual members and the crew as a whole. Our partnership with Great Rivers Greenway has proven invaluable, offering a diverse array of projects and training opportunities for our members. I am incredibly enthusiastic about our collaborative efforts to further develop and refine this program, ensuring a more promising future for the next generation of conservationists in the greater St. Louis area.

Olivia Dove: Conservation Education Instructor

DoveOlivia

As the Conservation Education Instructor, I am granted the opportunity to focus on a vast array of responsibilities relating to environmental stewardship. The main focus of my role is to provide support, planning, education, and leadership to the Outdoor Youth Corps and Outdoor Leadership Corps programs while working alongside the amazing Community Programs Supervisor, Fletcher. It is a wonderful position that allows me to work with diverse groups of people interested in environmental careers, or simply interested in serving the environment. Every project with OLC has been an opportunity to learn more about the hard work that goes into ecological restoration while also fostering great discussion among the RAs about the importance of environmental stewardship! The crew this season are wonderful to work alongside and they challenge me to notice something different about nature every single day!


Peep a before and after of completed restoration work!

Before

 

After

 

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