Growing Green: Impactful Careers for Young Adults

Friday, March 29

By Sarah Baier, education specialist at the Lilly Center

What do you want to be when you grow up?

How many times over the years have you had people ask you that? I’m in my fifties and I still ponder the question sometimes! This week the environmental science classes from Warsaw High School visited the Lilly Center to ask that same question and to learn about a wide variety of career options that support environmental stewardship. We called these “Green Careers.”  

Did you ever think about being a hydrologist? How about a limnologist? Maybe a lab tech? Or even a landfill manager? Honestly, when I was entering college, I didn’t even know how to pronounce limnology let alone consider it as a career path! These are just a few of the hundreds of job titles related to environmental stewardship that are available to people today.

During their visit, the young people were encouraged to think about caring for the environment as individual citizens, and to make a difference in their everyday lives AND as professionals working in jobs that also impact the health of our environment moving into the future.

To make the experience more real, the students viewed videos spotlighting environmental champions in our very own community. People like Darci Zolman, program adminstrator for KC Soil and Water Conservation District, Ryan Workman, City of Warsaw Stormwater Utility manager, Kirk Swaidner (retired) from Zimmer Biomet and Diane Stafford from Stafford Solid Waste…plus our own Caitlin Yoder, education coordinator, and Dr. Nate Bosch, director of Lilly Center. Each person shared their job duties, interesting projects they have been involved in and the level of education required for their job. It is important for students to realize that there are many job opportunities in every community related to the environmental field, and not all of them require a college degree.

So, what do you want to be when you grow up? This is an amazing time in history to be asking that question. Truly, the possibilities for making positive change in the world through your lifestyle and your career path are limited only by your imagination.