Green Corps: Professional Week

Fri., Jul. 9, 2021

By Margaret Cook, Communications Specialist

This past week, the Green Corps interns from Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) had the opportunity to explore various aspects of Holden Forests & Gardens professional careers. At Holden Forests & Gardens, the mission is to connect people with the wonder, beauty, and value of trees and plants, and to inspire action for healthy communities. YOU interns in the Green Corps program, Aashi Parikh, Serenity Ortiz and Madison Willoughby, met with various staff members in different departments to get a glimpse of the “day to day” work they do. They met with members from Development, Guest Services, Marketing, Horticulture, Event Coordination, Education and so much more! Each department showed the interns how the work they do always connects back to the mission and creating a better future for the planet.

As part of their professional week experience, the interns caught up with Horticulturists Mark Bir and Matthew Edwards for an inside look at their jobs and what they enjoy most about them. Mark led the group through the glasshouse and taught about all the rare plants, trees and flowers that live there.

– Photo © Bob Perkoski,

Mark did a wonderful job engaging the interns and making sure they asked questions and stayed interested in the information he was giving them. The detailed tour helped to inspire the interns to reflect on the good work they are doing and how it will have an impact on society.

– Photo © Bob Perkoski,

After the glasshouse tour, Animal Expert Matthew Edwards led the group behind the scenes where all the animals are kept and taken care of. The interns enjoyed this part of the tour because of how hands on they got to be with the exotic animals. In the photos below are just a few of the animals the interns got to meet!

Panther Chameleon- Photo © Bob Perkoski,
Neotropical Gross Frog- Photo © Bob Perkoski,
Fritillaries and Longwings- Photo © Bob Perkoski,

In addition to the glasshouse tour, the interns met with various staff members to truly get the overall picture of what Holden Forests & Gardens is all about. They got to witness how much work and details goes into the organization and understand just how important every member is.

Serenity helped out Lexi Carter, Academic Programs Coordinator, with some preparation for a children’s activity in the garden.

Serenity got a chance to reflect on her experiences this week and she says, “In Guest Services, I’m learning to communicate, work in an office setting, and to help welcome guests to CBG. In Academic Programs, I’m further developing my skills in education- helping children learn more about CBG- by organizing and sorting.”

Sabrina Kozsey, Gardener, and Madison got straight to work on the sun patio where they were weeding and planting new flowers.

Madison enjoyed working with Sabrina who taught her different techniques for weeding and planting new flowers that she did not know before. The Sun Patio is looking incredible after some hard work from these two!

Aashi with some of the preschoolers she led during the Pre-School Day Camp at Cleveland Botanical Garden. The children adored her and learned a lot about birds, trees, and flowers on their mini nature walk. Thank you to Kristina Arthur who is the Hershey Children’s Garden Coordinator.

After working in the children’s garden, Aashi says, “In the garden, I learned how to weed. I don’t like pulling them, but the results are satisfying. During preschool camp, I learned a lot of new things about birds and insects not only from the adults but from the kids as well. I think helping kids in this age group learn with their senses is a good idea because they’ll pay attention to it. I liked watching the kids walk around and try to find and figure out new things.”

Overall, the Green Corps interns were excited and interested by all the roles they got to learn about at Holden Forests & Gardens. They had a new perspective on the hard work that is done in the organization and cannot wait to use their knowledge from this internship in their college careers as well as professional careers!

Margaret Cook

Communications Specialist


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