Meet the Interns: Tracy, Horticulture Intern at Greenpop

Meet the Interns: Tracy, Horticulture Intern at Greenpop

Photo credits: Greenpop

Tracy’s unsuspecting challenges and moments of great success

As a Horticulture Intern Tracy mainly focused on the Greenpop nursery, how to constantly improve it and make it more user-friendly. Next to that she was also involved with Greenpop’s main project: the Urban Greening Programme (UGP). This program helps to promote environmental education in schools and community-based organizations. More importantly, the programme addresses under greening of previously disadvantaged places in and around Cape Town. Greenpop does this through promoting tree planting at different schools and organizations with the help of donors and proceeds from other fundraising efforts. In addition several times a year workshops are organized for the beneficiaries of the UGP  and one of those workshops took place at the nursery during her internship.

Workshop for teachers and children

In February we held one of our beneficiary workshops with local school children and their teachers at the Greenpop nursery. What surprised me was everybody’s passion and even the little kiddies were so happy to be in the nursery. During that day we had several stations with mini-workshops. Together with Joan (my fabulous colleague) I was in charge of the setup of the workshop and making sure everything would work cohesively. With another intern (Katie, Urban Greening Intern) I taught the participants about seed propagation and tree planting techniques. And at another station I spoke about how tree planting can have an adverse effect on climate change and the benefits of implementing these teachings of biology and geography in the classroom. The idea was to make it as interactive as possible for the kids. All these kids just came out of a linear classroom environment so the worst thing we could do is not engage with their questions and lecture them. It was cool to see them participate and share what they knew and what they had learned in the classroom. One of the main focuses of this workshop was to show the teachers how they could implement these environmental teachings into the CAP curriculum. I believe learning doesn’t have to be this rigid pencil to paper thing, this program can actually be implemented in schools and be a relevant source of material. The knowledge is practical and in that way it can be transferred through the students into their own communities. 

Environment and female empowerment

During my internship, I received notice that I had been accepted for the Desmond Tutu Foundation Fellowship which also entails a community project of some kind. So what I have been pondering is a project mixing the environment and female empowerment which are two very important issues to me. Back where I am from in Durban we are trying to implement up-cycling, with plastic bottles. We use the bottoms of plastic bottles as planters for greenery. In Durban there is a lot of waste, particularly waste that is not recycled and in turn, litters the environment. We want to eventually create sustainable gardens with up-cycling these plastic bottles and keep educating the community about how to compost because to a lot of people it is a new idea. It’s a struggle to keep the compost natural but it is a hurdle we need to conquer. Another struggle is the monkeys in the communities. They are extremely mischievous and like to investigate and dismantle the planters, we are finding solutions, though, hanging them higher up is working for right now.

Check out our internships in environmental management!

Falling in love with Cape Town

My time in Cape Town as a Horticulture intern has been amazing, I love, LOVE Cape Town. I thought I was going to hate it because of its rap for being pretentious or stuck it. However, my time spent here has completely changed my preconceived notions about Cape Town, I want to stay here now. I will most definitely miss the amazing people that I have met, whether it be interns, permanent staff or the people that I came across. Everyone was loving, kind and inspiring – it was great to realize and come to understand that like-minded people could come from anywhere in the world.

Tip for social enterprise or NGO internship

If you’re thinking about doing an internship for a social enterprise or an NGO be prepared to do anything at any time. Flexibility and dynamism are key. Always keep an open mind and be a team player – because you will be working with a diverse group of people. Leave your ego and selfish expectations at the door, because social enterprises and NGOs are rooted in seeing the growth of the community, rather than the individual.

Tracy will be back in Cape Town in April to work on her Desmond Tutu Fellowship project. We can’t wait to hear about this and wish her all the success in her future ventures. We will miss you, Tracy!

Inspired by this Horticulture Intern? Why not check out or apply for Greenpop’s Horticulture Internship as well?

Nursery internship Greenpop     IMG-20170207-WA0003