Northwest Worcester County presents a relatively rural setting within proximity to some of the largest urban and residential areas of New England. MWCC consists of 169 acres of undeveloped diverse plant communities, two pond communities, and a Life Studies Center consisting of a greenhouse, potting area, and a small garden. The Natural Resources Degree program provides an ecologically-based generalist with a background in practical plant science, animal science, and environmental sampling skills. The general consensus from an advisory board consisting of representatives from green industries including nurseries, vegetation control, and organic farming centers indicates a need for workers with an education in the foundation of ecology. Discussions with leaders in green industries have provided the opportunity for placements in these various job settings allowing the acquisition of practical job skills with completion of practicum experiences.
Linda Patterson started her journey at Mount Wachusett Community College through the House of Peace and Education (HOPE) program. It was at HOPE’s Second annual “Celebrating Women” event where Patterson had the honor of sharing the stage with author, and social justice advocate Gloria Steinem. Patterson is a graduate of MWCC and will be transferring to Smith college, the very same college Steinem graduated from.
“Sharing the stage with Gloria Steinem was a huge honor, she’s an amazing inspiration! I think meeting her also helped me to be selected as an Ada Comstock Scholar,” Patterson said. “I think Gloria played a part in my acceptance into Smith as well as inspiring me to attend.”
Because of Patterson’s love for plants, she decided to major in Natural Resources and served as president of the Green Society, Patterson said being in this role helped her obtain the leadership skills she previously thought were impossible.
“For at least a decade I desired stronger leadership skills but had no idea how to attain them,” Patterson said. “The Green Society helped me grow in ways that sharpened my leadership skills and allowed me to achieve goals that were previously unattainable.”
Patterson said the best part of being president of the Green Society was having the opportunity to work with so many amazing people. She said no matter how many crazy ideas she came up with, all members were supportive of them.
Under her, the Green Society was able to set up a scholarship for future Natural Resources Degree students.
“MWCC helped me to achieve my goals by supporting me through tutoring and offering great advising. I was also graced with scholarships and awards that allowed me to financially manage my expenses,” Patterson said. “MWCC also introduced me to Smith and helped me to become a better student by offering workshops in strategies for success.”
Using her plant knowledge, Patterson works as a herbalist and aroma-therapist. She teaches individuals about the medicinal properties of plants and essential oils. She said she loves empowering people and teaching them how to enhance their lives and health by living in harmony with nature.