This is the first summer that the Audubon Center at Riverlands’ youth employment program, Flight Crew, is joining the Green Teen Alliance. Below, crew member Arrow (back row, third from left in photo above) reflects on the experience:

“I’m Raven and I go by Arrow (my camp name). I am 17 years old and I just graduated from Hazelwood East High School. I am a part of the Flight Crew program by Audubon Center at Riverlands. We also partner with Little Creek Nature Area to provide a three week summer camp for kids in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. This is my second year as a camp counselor but first year as a Flight Crew Member and member of the Green Teen Alliance. 

My first introduction to the Green Teen Alliance was from being a Flight Crew Member. With my team, in June of 2019, I went to Forest Park in order to meet the larger group of Green Teen Alliance teenagers (maybe 60-70 of us?). I never knew there were so many of us that were interested in working outdoors but seeing us together allowed me to have more hope and faith in our execution (not just our potential) to positively and purposefully change the environment! In one day we learned (more) about community issues, like water quality and food deserts, and discussed possible solutions. One solution we discussed for water quality was establishing a healthy amount of riparian buffer next to our rivers and streams.

I am not only able to learn but, through my role as a counselor at Little Creek Summer Camp, my peers in Flight Crew and I are able to educate the youth that look up to us as their role models. Inspiring them to possibly work outdoors, too. The campers are diverse. We get to expose our fellow people of color to the outdoors, making the project and purpose of working in nature more popular and shared throughout different cultures. I love my job! “

Crew member Alayna Abel adds more:

“My name is Alayna Abel. I am 16 years old and will be a junior at McCluer North High School in the fall. I love being a member of Flight Crew. Our program is 8 weeks long. During the first  five weeks we focus on conservation and doing projects to beautify the earth. We joined the Green Teen Alliance which was a great experience. Groups of teenagers that are nature based come together and build bonds with each other. One day, Flight Crew went to Forest Park to help the Nature Works crew clear their riparian buffer zone of ragweed and honeysuckle. We were all super hot, sweaty and itchy but in the end we got a lot done and helped improve the park. It was a very satisfying experience. I highly recommend working in nature, it brings out an amazing side of you that you never expect seeing!”