During a successful volunteering partnership between Great River Greening and Genesys Works last fall, Mark Turbak, Community Engagement Manager of Greening, was impressed by the enthusiasm and efforts of our young professionals as they cut back buckthorn alongside their peers. This spring, he chose to invite our young professionals to participate in the Science Areas Teen Network, a program that aims to engage minority youth and demonstrate how environmental science converges with technology to battle current environmental issues.
The morning of the Greening event, the sun was shining and forecasters had predicted temperatures to reach 50 degrees. Snow piles on the ground were not enough to dampen the enthusiasm of Young Professionals as they gathered at the downtown Genesys Works’ office for some preparatory training. Turbak helped to explain the positive environmental impact they would be making through their efforts as well as some important ways that technology has benefitted the work of those concerned with preserving the environment.
Later in the morning, students worked alongside corporate mentors to stack piles of cut buckthorn and solve a GPS treasure hunt. After lunch, Genesys Works participants had the opportunity to speak to professionals serving in technology driven environmental careers. Through their efforts and their interactions, Young Professionals had their eyes opened to new possibilities for their future. To quote one student following the event, “It’s always hard getting up in the morning to come [to volunteer events with Genesys Works]. But it is always great when you do!”