by Madelyn Phillips, Volunteer, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Last week I got to spend a week at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden for a mini-mester-intern experience. I’m a student at Trinity Episcopal School, which requires that each year, every member of the junior class finds and obtains a job in a career or field of interest. We call this opportunity Junior Work Week. The goal is to provide students with insight into what a job or career is like and how that job fits into to the overall organization.
I’m somewhat unique in that I went into this process with absolutely no idea what career I wanted, and no idea what I wanted to study to in college. I hoped this experience would help narrow my search down. I chose a place to work based on my interests and passions, and my love of the nature and my interest in environmental sustainability and education. This led me to Lewis Ginter. I contacted with Nicki, the Youth Programs Developer at the Garden, went through the application process, and came in for an interview. I expressed to her that I was interested in trying a lot of different things, and when I came in on Monday morning, she provided me with a schedule that had me going to different departments, doing several different jobs.
I spent a lot of time in the Children’s Garden, first shadowing elementary school programs, and then doing prep work for those same programs, as well as for the Garden’s Spring Break Camp and Green Adventures Summer Camp. I met all of the Children’s Garden staff, who were really great and fun to work with, and I also got the opportunity to do some work with some of the horticulture volunteers, who were really fun as well. I spent some time shadowing in the Development department. Did you see my post on the Garden’s Facebook page? That’s what I worked on for the Public Relations office. This may already sound like a lot, but these are only a few of the many different things I got to do last week.
I learned a lot from this experience, and I know that I’ll be able to use that knowledge to inform decisions that I make about my future career and course of study. Outside of that, however, one of the things that made Lewis Ginter a great place to work was all of the people there. From the volunteers to the staff, everyone seems to have a great sense of humor and a passion for what they’re doing. Everyone values the Garden and the the natural world around them, and takes steps to be more sustainable and environmentally aware by reusing and recycling, regardless of what department they’re a part of. Educating visitors about their connection to nature and the wider world around them is definitely a mission that everyone takes to heart, and it creates a great atmosphere to be working in.
Interested in hosting a Junior Work Week student at your place? Interested employers can apply on Trinity’s website.