August 4, 2021
It was my pleasure to meet and talk with our three Summer Horticulture Interns one recent July afternoon and I want to introduce you to these delightful and purposeful young people.
How our interns learn through their work
Anna Kaczmarek, Noah Burley, and Maia Kessler are the three students sponsored by AHG to work with our team during the summer, variously from mid-May and early June through to mid-August. Our interns have a chance to learn plant identification and design and horticultural methods and techniques from our professionals, and in turn they provide young energy and muscle to the endless tasks of weeding and pruning in the gardens, and ivy pulling in the woods.
Many public gardens did not offer internships this summer, so Director of Horticulture Sandra Flowers received a large number of very strong candidates applying for the positions and she was able to hire excellent choices.
Although the outside seminars available in the past for interns have not been held these last couple of summers, there have been tours of other local gardens and exchanges of tours with other local intern programs. We want to encourage young horticulturists to continue in the field to be the gardeners of the future!
Meet the interns
Anna is studying for a degree in Horticulture Technology and Landscape Design at NOVA (Northern Virginia Community College) and this summer seeks experience in public gardens and more exposure to all aspects of gardening. She found the internship so far meets her expectations and emphasized how good our staff is to work with and how helpful they are in explaining and answering questions. We in AHG certainly second that!
Noah studies Horticulture at Colorado State University and chose to come to Washington, DC, because he had never been here. Welcome, Noah and thank you for your sense of adventure in coming to us! Noah also affirms that the internship fulfills his expectations and reiterated the praise for our hard-working staff. He is interested in work in public gardens and particularly keen for the opportunity to become better versed in plant identification.
Maia is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape Architecture at University of Maryland, and was drawn to our program by the visible beauty and the physical work, and learning about plant identification and plant care. She revealed the internship goes even beyond her expectations.
Putting Learning into Practice
As is the case each year, the students are assigned a project, to plan a garden area, design the plantings, and specify, price, and source the plants. This summer’s project is the expansion of the Pollinator Garden (at the NCS Athletic Center/Beauvoir Road) up the hillside. Recently a white oak was lost near the top of this garden and that loss will change growing conditions. Anna, Noah, and Maia are working with AutoCad software, considering plants, a path through the garden, and possible seating, especially where the oak stump remains. More educational signs may be placed amongst the flowers. This practical, immersive experience is invaluable as the students move forward with their careers. The original design of the Pollinator Garden was the 2019 intern project, and that garden has been a huge success. (Just ask the winged creatures who flock there to savor the flowers!) It is also a wonderful resource and experience for the human creatures who walk down the hill and witness our small part in encouraging pollinators.
Your Help lets AHG support the next generation of gardeners
We are proud that funds donated to AHG from our supporters enable us to continue this valuable horticulture internship program, providing us with extra help in the growing season and allowing students to have practical experiences to bolster their classroom learning.
Noah, Anna, and Maia, thank you, best of luck with your studies and careers, and don’t lose touch with us.