By Cathriona Fey
BAPA Outreach Liaison
Growing up, gardening was a family affair for Samantha Griffin. A recent graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale with degrees in geography and environmental resources, plus minors in horticulture and history, Griffin has joined BAPA this year as a Sustainability Intern to help promote the organization’s environmental initiatives and events.
Griffin learned at an early age the importance of being a steward of our planet. Growing up reading nature novels and Zoobooks and watching Animal Planet, Griffin also enjoyed maintaining a garden with her mom and grandmother.
“I think that as humans, we forget that we’re just one species that has to coexist with everything else,” Griffin said.
Griffin comes to BAPA after working seasonally for several years for the Oak Lawn Park District as a parks laborer and assistant horticulturist. Her passion for gardening and native plants is evident as she encourages others to consider planting a garden.
“I think everyone should plant a garden with native plants at their home,” she said. “Lawns take up so much space that we could use instead for gardens. Why not put in native grass that doesn’t need to be watered? Or why not seed your lawn with native flowers? There are so many possibilities!”
BAPA is excited to add Griffin’s enthusiasm for native plants and natural landscapes to its 2021 Save the Monarchs initiative. Griffin will assist with growing the number of monarch-friendly habitats throughout Beverly/Morgan Park.
Having recently partnered with the Beverly Area Arts Alliance on its Pandemograms project, Griffin, an artist herself, developed digital art designs that can be used in the branding and promoting BAPA’s sustainability initiatives. A former Girls Scouts instructor, Samantha is also eager to get local schools involved and to integrate art into learning about the environment.
“Children are the easiest group to teach,” she said. “There are so many programs out there for kids to help and do environmental projects, I think that every kid should have that experience.”
Griffin chose to bring her passion, knowledge and experience to BAPA because she wanted to make a difference in her own community and teach people how to embrace environmental causes in our city. She thanks her own family for taking the time to garden with her at an early age and for championing her many causes over the years.
What project she is most looking forward to in 2021? “I’m most excited for our butterfly planter box project. If all goes well, we should have lots of mini environments for monarch egg laying. I don’t want to give too much away, but it should be exciting!”
BAPA looks forward to making 2021 greener by promoting more mindful and sustainable living through its programs and events. Clean and Green, Openlands Tree Plantings, Weeding Wednesdays, Bike Beverly, and the Garden Walk are all slated to return this year. BAPA will also introduce Save the Monarchs, recycling and composting programming, parks and bike advocacy initiatives, and expanded partnerships with neighborhood businesses, organizations, and residents all on a mission to Green Where You Live.
Interested in getting involved? Email email@example.com to join our list of green volunteers.