We do not know how but Rocky Park Farm (RPF) was blessed with the presence of yet another Ohio native as an intern! For the past 2 semesters, Justice Williams has been part of the Rocky Park family. She will soon depart both the farm and Maryville College, where she is an Environmental Science major (Spanish minor), to begin what we’re certain will be a bright future. 

Justice found interning at RPF appealing because she enjoys being outdoors. She shared, “I naturally gravitated toward the garden internship. I enjoy growing herbs at home for cooking purposes and this position has provided me with a wealth of knowledge about propagation, aquaponics, and horticulture. This exposure has greatly improved my confidence in growing produce and nursing plants.” 

Justice stated that a highlight of working at RPF has been the chance to build a relationship with Jim and Phyllis Kirksey (owners) because they embraced her as part of their family. “I consider them to be like my own grandparents. Mrs. Phyllis even took time to teach me the art of cross-stitching.” Additionally, she had the privilege of learning about the inner workings of the farm, among other valuable experiences. 

Miss Williams believes that interning at RPF is a great learning experience and encourages other college students to apply to do so, especially if they enjoy working outdoors and have an eagerness to learn about the types of produce and flora produced on the farm, She also believes it would be beneficial to those interested in learning about sustainable growing practices such as aquaponics. She added, “While at RFP, I was able to get away from the fast-paced environment of academics and recharge my mind by planting and weeding in the garden, surrounded by the scent of blooming flowers.” Her time at the farm helped her disconnect from the stresses of college life, and who wouldn’t benefit from that? 

“This internship has provided me with a strong foundation and passion for environmental work. I have learned so much from them, and will carry this experience with me into future endeavors.” 

After graduating from Maryville College this December (`23), Miss Williams plans to apply for a Master’s program in Environmental Science, with a career goal of working as an environmental consultant. More specifically, she is interested in the field of ecotourism where she hopes to help mitigate the adverse environmental impacts of the tourist industry; to help promote environmental sustainability, while simultaneously preserving the culture of local communities. 

What will Justice carry forth from her time at Rocky Park Farm? Fieldwork experience, an understanding of different plant species, an awareness of sustainability practices, and the development of creative-problem skills; all of which will become valuable assets when pursuing a career in environmental consulting.

Thank you, Justice, for becoming part of the Rocky Park family. We will miss your quiet yet strong presence and wish you great success in all you pursue in life!