High School Outdoor Leaders, a unique internship

Written by Margaret Siebers
    Tuesday, 26 February 2019
High School Outdoor Leaders, a unique internship

I want to tell you about an amazing employment opportunity that the Urban Ecology Center has for high school students. But first, let’s do an icebreaker.

What was your first job? For me, it was babysitting. I worked with many different families, which meant different expectations from employers.Some families paid fairly, others did not. There were well behaved children and those who saw a parent date night as an opportunity to cast off all the tyrannical rules set in place for them.

Actually, I had one family where the kids were so naughty that I would babysit out of pity for the parents. That mom and dad really needed a date! My husband’s first job was at a carnival. He ran the duck game. The rubber ducks float around in a pool, you select one and flip it over. The symbol on its underside corresponds with a prize. One fair goer returned to the stand because their prize had broken. My husband, a thirteen year old at the time, gave them a new one. That didn’t go over very well with the boss. We all probably have interesting stories about our first jobs.

Often these stories relate to negotiating the complicated world of work, with little guidance, while going through puberty. It can be very confusing. The Urban Ecology Center’s High School Outdoor Leader Program will give participants an incredibly positive story of their first job. This program is part of our Green Career Pipeline that aims to encourage and equip youth in Milwaukee to work in the environmental field.



Outdoor Leaders build job skills, leadership skills, and ecological and environmental justice understanding, while engaging the community in outdoor fun and learning. Outdoor leaders join a group of 18 youth from across Milwaukee who socialize, build friendships and network with people interested in the Center’s mission. All of this under the guidance of UEC employees who care deeply about high school students, Milwaukee, and the environment. High School Outdoor Leaders help maintain overall functionality of various departments including Community Programs, Research and Community Science, Land stewardship, Volunteer Operations, Visitor Services, and even Animal Care.

It is a great introduction to the many different ways one can work in a green career. While working outdoors is certainly one way, we also have many people working behind the scenes in marketing, development, volunteer coordination, even IT. Many of our former Outdoor Leaders return again and again. They return as interns during college. We currently have three people working at the UEC that were once Outdoor Leaders. They speak very highly of the program. If you know someone that would be interested in the program, please have them apply on our website. We will be conducting interviews the first weekend in March, so, don’t delay!


Margaret Siebers

Margaret Siebers

Margaret Siebers is the Visitor Services Specialist at Riverside Park. If you visit the center, you will be likely to see her tending the fire, assisting people borrow their equipment, and making sure you have tasty treats to enjoy. She has enjoyed participating at the Urban Ecology Center in many different ways over the years. As a volunteer, class participant, by renting the building, borrowing equipment, exploring the park, and now, as an employee. She loves making food, going on adventures around town with her family, and reading.

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