Prairie and Native Plant Careers

Theodore Smith

Outdoor Learning Spaces Coordinator
The Green Center
University City, Missouri

What was your major field of study?
Urban Affairs

Briefly describe your current job.
I maintain the grounds and natural areas of The Green Center

How do you use your native plant and/or prairie knowledge in your career today?
I use my knowledge of native plants to add native plant species diversity in our prairies, woodlands, and wetlands we maintain

What is the most satisfying aspect of your current work?
Habitat restoration, and removing invasive plant species and replacing them with native plant species that promote activity and life

What native plant/prairie classes or trainings were especially important to your career?
Sedge identification workshops, and native tree species identification

What other subjects have you studies that have been important to your career?
History, geography and cartography

Please describe volunteer or field work that was formative to your education and career.
My AmeriCorps terms of service were an integral part of my immersion into a environmental “green” career. A variety of invasive plant species removal projects, tree plantings and stormwater management programs/education gave me a great introduction into a career filled with habitat restoration.

What materials and technology are must-haves for your field?
Maps, brush cutters, shovels, chainsaws, backpack sprayers, and a can-do attitude

What advice would you give students or others wanting to go into your field?
Never be afraid to volunteer and explore your interests!