18 New Faces

Written by Jamie Ferschinger
    Thursday, 01 November 2012
18 New Faces

If you ask any of the Center staff, each person probably has a handful of programs which are their favorites. These are the programs that make us want to come to work each day. One of my favorite programs is the High School Outdoor Leader Program. This program – dare I say it- sometimes makes me want to be in high school again.


The Outdoor Leader program combines adventure, education and job training. But it is so much more than that! During their time with us we watch the Outdoor Leaders learn about themselves, their community and the world. We support them as they navigate through their high school years and help them evaluate where their path will lead them next. In their two years with us, the Outdoor Leaders will gain environmental literacy and develop an environmental ethic while learning job skills and working amongst people who genuinely care about them.

This summer we welcomed 18 new high school students to the Center through this program. They had an exciting summer of training at the Center’s three branches and traveling to northern Wisconsin and the Porcupine Mountains. After they became used to the idea of not having their cell phone <gasp>, not showering and existing with dirt and spiders for a week…it was an amazing experience. I was proud as I watched each of the Outdoor Leaders step outside of their comfort zones and ultimately discover comfort somewhere in this new environment.

Six Outdoor Leaders work at each of the three branches. They represent nine different high schools, five ethnic groups and bring unique energy and new ideas to the Center. Next time you visit any of the branches please introduce yourself to the new Outdoor Leaders! In fact, you may already know some of them from this past summer.

At Riverside Park you’ll find Altonetta Bingham, Mieko Kuramoto, Damonte Lee, Damion Perry, Olivia Raasch and Talore Williams.

At Washington Park you can meet Calvin Huffer, Alberto Kanost, Darrin Madison, Zahara Said, Kia Vue and Xai Yang.

At Menomonee Valley you can visit Gabrielle Brown, Elizabeth Dannecker, Andrea Gutierrez, Richard Imp, Patrick McLinden and Tomas Stricklen.

We think they are wonderful and I am sure you will too! When they change the world you can say, “I knew them when they worked at the Urban Ecology Center.”


Jamie Ferschinger

Jamie Ferschinger

With a Bachelor's degree in Biology and Communications and a Master's degree in Conservation Biology, Jamie brings a wealth of experiences and deep passion to her work at the Urban Ecology Center. As Branch Manager of the Riverside Park Branch, she helps to ensure that things are running smoothly and everybody is happy! Outside of work, Jamie enjoys running when the sun is coming up, spending time outside, cooking, listening to music and traveling to new places.

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