As a young child, my grandfather shared his love of plants with me. He was a soil scientist by day and a gardener by night. I spent lots of time with him harvesting fruit from the orchard and learning how to graft pink dogwood trees. He sparked my curiosity about plants which led me to my future career as an environmental educator in the horticultural industry. My story is like many other professionals in this industry. Many of us have been inspired by passionate individuals who shared their time, curiosity, and stories with us encouraging us to become plant heroes. There are so many paths and so many ways to become plants heroes. Keep reading to discover how you can encourage youth to consider a green career by participating in Green Career Week on October 2-6, 2023.
Green Career Week
Green Career Week is a national initiative led by Seed Your Future which connects students with professionals in the horticulture industry. Through classroom visits and field trips, students discover that there are hundreds of career pathways using a variety of different skills across a multitude of disciplines. You can be a landscape designer, a plant videographer, an arborist, a floral designer, an illustrator, plant breeder, soil scientist, environmental educator, and so much more. If you work in the horticultural industry, I encourage you to register and share your story at a local school or university. If you are an educator working with youth, contact your local public garden asking them if they would participate.
Not able to participate during this week- no problem. Green Career Week takes place every fall and spring. Online resources are available year around to teach youth about green careers in horticulture. Check out some of our favorite resources below.
Seed Your Future
Seed Your Future has a multitude of resources for both students and educators to learn more about careers in the horticulture industry including:
- An extensive list of horticulture careers which includes job descriptions, videos featuring day in the life, career stories, and more.
- Plant Power Quiz to discover what your “plant power” is and how you can make an impact on your community.
- Resources to find scholarships and internships in the horticulture industry.
- The Plant Mash-Up Contest to inspire and educate students about the power of plants.
- A YouTube Channel with fun videos about cool careers in the horticulture industry.
Let’s Explore! Green Jobs Videos
Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin, created a wonderful video series called
Let’s Explore! Green Jobs. The videos highlight some of the many fulfilling careers that can be found in green industry professions including an ecologist, horticulturalist, and urban farmer. In each video, an elementary student interviews a horticulture professional and joins the professional on the job to learn more about their work. In the following video, Logan joins Ecologist Alex to learn more about working with native plants.
Morton Arboretum’s Planted Podcast
Morton Arboretum, in Illinois, created a free educational podcast called “Planted: Finding Your Roots in STEM Careers” which introduces high school students to plant professionals. Choose from twenty-seven podcasts featuring professionals from across a variety of STEM careers. Each podcast comes with bonus content that including additional videos, classroom activities, plant profiles, speaker profiles, and more. Just sign up for a free account to The Morton Arboretum’s Arborversity.
Real Plant Heroes Stories
Check out our past blog posts that included stories of real plant heroes:
• Meet Joshua Canepa Gallo, a bilingual environmental educator.
• Meet Cody, a canine handler for Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Response and Bravo (a four-legged plant hero).
Do you know of a real-life plant hero that is making a difference? Plant Heroes wants to share their stories and inspire more people to become plant heroes. Email us your recommendation and we will contact you about featuring them in an upcoming blog post.
Written by: Jeanette M. Henderson, Plant Protection Program Coordinator