Girl Gotta Hike the Podcast has reached episode Sweet Sixteen, which is not only super exciting, but an amazing coincidence, since the featured guests happen to both be sixteen years old and reign from Melissa’s hometown of Rochester, New York!
Kahmil Monk-George and Amanda Torres are both Junior Urban Ecologists with The Seneca Park Zoo Society’s Rochester Urban Ecology Program, a paid workforce development program for junior and senior high schoolers. Back in April, during their high school Spring Break, they joined Melissa for a walk and talk on a crisp Spring morning in Seneca Park, home to the Seneca Park Zoo, and home base for their program. Amanda and Kahmil talked about their experience as Junior Urban Ecologists, their involvement with the Urban Ecology Program, and its four-part mission to reflect on the relationship between humans and the environment around them, encourage community engagement in the outdoors, develop a sense of stewardship for the natural spaces within the city, and to prepare themselves for future job opportunities.
Spending quality time in the outdoors has had a huge impact on these two young humans, most especially during these tough pandemic times, which are often overloaded with Zoom calls and remote learning. Connecting with each other and the natural world around them, in a safe and socially distant way, has proven to be their saving grace for such stressful times, and their enthusiasm for bringing their fellow teens and younger kids along for the ride is infectious.
Melissa was first connected to these amazing young women by their program manager, Chris Widmaier, through the recently founded New York Outdoor Recreation Coalition, which consists of a diverse membership organizations, and advocacy groups, working to ensure equal access to outdoor recreation in New York State.
Thanks so much to Amanda and Kahmil for taking time out of their High School Spring Break to hang out and go for a walk with Girl Gotta Hike! Best wishes to you both on an awesome Senior Year and beyond!
SHOW NOTES / USEFUL LINKS:
Gossamer Gear Discount — use code “GIRLGOTTAHIKEGOSSAMER” for 15% off your first purchase at GossamerGear.com
Rochester Urban Ecologists - website
RocUrbanEcologists - Instagram
Program Coordinator, Chris Widmaier
Rochester’s Summer of Opportunity Program
City of Rochester - Rec Centers