The following was submitted by Angela Williams, one of five UW student interns who worked with us this past spring through the Carlson Leadership Center. Angela and co. were tasked with transforming the long neglected “Back 40” located between Plant Donations and the Greenhouse at the Arboretum into a vegetable garden…
“As a student majoring in public health nutrition, I’ve worked in many food-related service learning/volunteering positions in the past several years. My recent experience as “Greenhouse and Garden Caretaker” at the UW Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, however, was by far my favorite position ever. I so looked forward to my Friday shift each week; it was a welcome break from the classroom as I was outside working in the fresh air tending to the garden. I could hardly wait to get there each week to see how much the plants had grown. Seeds that I had put in the ground only weeks before had evolved into beautiful spinach, kale, pea, beet and tomato plants!
It really was a pleasure working with the staff; Patrick and Cari were so responsive and knowledgeable. They provided great leadership and support, yet also allowed me to work independently and use my own creativity; such as deciding what and where vegetables should be planted. They taught me a variety of organic gardening methods that I have already put to use in my own garden.
I find it especially rewarding to know that the garden I helped establish will be used as a learning garden for field trips and summer camps. It makes me happy to know the sustainable, organic produce grown in this garden will provide many years of delicious education for the thousands of children that visit.”