The Greenpop Interns: Where are they now?

18

JANUARY, 2016

By Helen McGlead

Greenpop has been molded and strengthened by the dedicated and unrivaled efforts of its wonderful interns. Many of these people have come from far and wide and have played integral roles in making our mission a reality.

Our internships offer a place within every corner of Greenpop. Where interns are given the opportunity to learn and grow, as they launch themselves on their paths as environmental champions.

We have tracked down and interviewed some of our previous wonderful interns to find out what they are up to now!

Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees
Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees

Christine Beluk
Boston, USA
Communications and fundraising intern
Budding Ukelele player

Where are you now: Christine is currently living in New York!

What do you miss about Cape Town:Everything. Early morning hikes up Lions Head, sunset picnics on the beach, the best coffee/food in the entire world, and being surrounded by such kind and passionate people.”

Lessons from Greenpop: “Approaching challenging problems with enthusiasm and optimism is incredibly powerful because it inspires other people to get involved.”

Advice to future interns: “Working with Greenpop is an experience like no other. Dare to push yourself, think big, speak up and engage with the people around you. Everyone who works in the office is truly intelligent and there for some amazing reasons – get to know the gang! Also, enjoy weeding the nursery. Kind of weird advice, but it can be really meditative if you have the right perspective about it.”

Fernanda Kirk (Saliba)
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Graphic design intern
Calligrapher extraordinaire

Where are you now: Fernanda finds herself in Louisiana, USA. Happily married to her best friend Ben! They have recently adopted their sweet and furry friend, Lucy!

What do you miss about the office: “The people and the great energy. Also the tea (can’t find BOS Ice Tea in America)”

Lessons from Greenpop: “That helping the environment feels good for the soul and it teaches you how to be more aware of your lifestyle choices. I’ve learned to eat better and shop smarter.”

Advice to future interns: “Do it! It will be one of the most amazing experiences in your life.”

Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees
Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees
Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees
Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees
Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees

Gordon Jennings
London, England
Nursery/operations intern
Excellent swimmer

Where are you now: Gordon is back in London working hard towards doing a Masters in Urban Development. He is doing this with a view to moving abroad again and either continuing or adding to what he was doing with Greenpop.

What do you miss about Cape Town: “So many things!! I’m from London, so the first things that I miss are the weather and the ocean! Other than that I could probably fill out a few sides of A4 paper, but, so I don’t bore you death, I’ll be brief. I used to live in Vredehoek, and seeing the mountain every morning when I walked out of my front door was amazing, that combined with the view over Table Bay from my balcony, the food in Cape Town too, with places like Fat Cactus and their chilli poppers and frozen margaritas, the Old Biscuit Mill, Hout Bay market (Hout Bay in general), Kirstenbosch, the wine and the craft beer (especially the craft beer!).”

Lessons from Greenpop: “Problem solving. In the nursery a lot of problems can crop up that need some lateral thinking to solve or bypass to make the most of the resources available.”

Advice to future interns: “If working in the nursery for any period of time, or just out and about in the bakkie working off site, take sun-cream and water (sunglasses too)!! Working in the nursery is hard work, but watching the projects take shape, solving the problems and issue that arise and finally completing the projects is a fantastic feeling – and the view is pretty awesome as well!!”

Hana Petersen
Cape Town, South Africa
Research and Development intern
Tai Chi master

Where are you now: Hana is still living in beautiful Cape Town. She is about to embark on her second year of her Masters degree in Biological Sciences at UCT, researching (very broadly) critical habitats and plant community ecology in the shale gas exploration area of the Karoo.

What do you miss about the office:  “Lots. But mostly Friday team lunch, because there’s something really special about sharing a meal. Family vibes.”

Lessons from Greenpop: “The most important thing I learnt from Greenpop is that a happy office is a productive office. A bit arbitrarily, I also learnt that you can learn such a lot about a person or a group of people just by sharing a meal with them :)”

Advice to future interns: “Try to experience a little bit of everything, learn as much as you can, and explore as much as you can. There’s a lot of inspiration to be found in Cape Town.”

 

Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees
Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees

“I left Greenpop with such a strong reverence for this earth that we live on – as well as for the hard work performed by those who’ve committed to make our planet a better place for all.” – Will McAneny

Our Greenpop team feels a lot more like a family than it does a work team. There is always loads of energy and ideas flowing around our office and we move around and consult with each other constantly. We have weekly meetings where we all check in and are given the space for expression or new ideas! A highlight of life as a  Cape Town Greenpopper is the magical experience of Friday lunches. Two team members, each week, combine their amazing culinary forces to provide us all with a beautiful and delicious vegan lunch! Most of the fresh produce used for the lunch comes from our own nursery! This time spent together is super important to connect and touch base with all our hard working interns and staff!

Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees
Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees
Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees
Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees

Jacqueline Koerner
Chicago, USA
Graphic Design intern
Artist Supreme

Where are you now: Jacqueline is currently living in the big apple, New York, as a second grade teacher.

What do you miss about Cape Town: “Cape Town was a truly amazing cultural experience for me. It was my first time living abroad so I learned a ton and gained a lot of valuable life perspective. I miss the incredible environmental landscapes, the wildlife, being near the beach, the accents and the local slang – all were pretty lekker ;)”

Lessons from Greenpop: “Greenpop taught me that you CAN love your job – that the workplace can be a simultaneously healthy and hard-working environment, that your co-workers share your passions and are there to support you, and that real change can be made by our actions to save our planet, even in the form of individual trees!”

Advice to future interns: “DO IT. I interned while I was studying abroad at UCT and my whole experience would haven’t been half of what it was without my time at Greenpop. If you’re like me, you like to be doing something that feels purposeful, even if you are traveling or in a new place. I liked having a reason to come into the city during the week and be a part of something lasting in South Africa beyond my six months there. It was definitely one of my most positive work experiences – who knows I may be back!”

Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees
Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees

Marco Martinez
Naples, Italy
Partnership Development intern
Cliff Diver

Where are you now: Marco is currently in Pisa in Italy, working as a research assistant in microeconomics.

What do you miss about the office: “I miss the Rooibos tea and the recycled tables, as well as the monday morning stretching and Friday cooking!”

Lessons from Greenpop: “Tough one! Environmentally conscious habits, English, professional attitude, hiking, love for nature!”

Advice to future interns: “Enjoy those special moments by learning as much as you can!”

Will McAneny
Oakland, California
Communications and Marketing intern and Reach Coordinator
Intrepid explorer

Where are you now: Will is currently in Somerville, Massachusetts where he is doing work as a Communications Associate for Root Capital, a nonprofit social lender that provides much-needed financing and advisory services to agricultural businesses in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and southeast Asia – businesses that have the potential to create employment for thousands of smallholder farmers, and that would otherwise often lack access to finance. On top of this great work, he is a loving foster father to Genghis and Fred, two lucky black cats!

What do you miss about Cape Town: “I miss the way that nature and city – two environs I love deeply – were so seamlessly integrated, from the ocean to the mountains to everything in between. I also miss the seemingly endless well of creativity – every new event or restaurant had a concept, a theme, a spark of creativity the likes of which I’ve never seen anywhere else.”

Lessons from Greenpop: “I learned ALL of the communications skills – writing, social media, in-person marketing, newsletter management – and soft skills that prepared me for my current position. I also learned how to balance hard work with a good time – I’ve never worked harder than I have when I was at Greenpop, but memories like the Baobab tree in Livingstone, the Stinkwood at Platbos, or a Jeremy Loops concert at Cool as Folk always made it worth it. That, and the wonderful people in the office and the warm and welcoming community that they so generously allowed me to be a part of. Finally, I left Greenpop with such a strong reverence for this earth that we live on – as well as for the hard work performed by those who’ve committed to make our planet a better place for all.”

Advice to future interns: “I would advise you to stick together! I still reach out to the folks I interned at Greenpop with, and am so grateful to have this community that stretches around the world. NOBODY else has had an experience anything like an internship at Greenpop, and that experience is best shared… in my humble opinion, of course.”

Family at the Hogsback Festival of Trees

Greenpop could never fully express how infinitely grateful we are for the incredible people who come from far and wide to join our Treevolution. We learn so much from each intern who joins our family. As our previous horticulture intern, Renee Hill said: “Learn all that you can and take advantage of every moment! Also go in everyday with your eyes, ears, heart and mind wide open because you never know what you could experience.”

 

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