Madra Choromanska, Education Intern 2014

My summer internship has allowed me to grow, learn about the plant world, and better explore my surroundings. As the education intern I showed and talked with children about many things, from how a seed develops to how they liked to mix watercolors to what herbs grow in the garden (and were their favorite to taste!). Interacting with visitors of all ages in the gardens reminded me how powerful an individual’s sense of curiosity can be and that there is always something fascinating to learn about plants. The alpine gardens is quite the appropriate place to cultivate and entertain these two aspects. I was also able to suggest and successfully implement some of my own ideas for educational initiatives. The independence of this position helped me better develop my own sense of what is important when showing and teaching individuals about new ideas.

But since Betty Ford is a small botanic garden and there is an endless amount of things to take care of, the educational programming was just about half of what my internship entailed. When I wasn’t in the Children’s Garden, I gained an immense amount of knowledge and experience from helping Nick and the horticulture intern, Montana, carry out daily tasks. Yet I could never expect one day to be like the last, as I did everything from harvesting kohlrabi to drilling and then planting in rock to unpacking dozens of plants to creating flower arrangements to collecting seed pods at 12,000 feet in Leadville.

Yet my summer wasn’t all about the gardens, and simply being in the mountains, in Vail, was fantastic and very refreshing. Every morning I would wake up to look out my window and see the sun rising above the Gore Range, a view that can almost be seen from anywhere in town. At first the town can be a bit intimidating, but once you spend half of your weekend hiking in awe of how grand rocks can be and eat enough local ice cream scoops it’s too easy to fall in love. The abundance of laughter, relentlessly breathtaking views, and infinite ability to adventure outside makes up for what at first may feel like a sense of solitude, but soon feels just right.

– Madra Choromanska, Education Intern 2014

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