Carly Feldman

Image of Carly Feldman UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden Learning by Leading Program participantCarly Feldman
Environmental Horticulture and Urban Forestry
Nursery Assistant (2015-2017)
Nursery Intern (2014-2015)

When I was accepted to UC Davis as a transfer student in 2014, I had only a vague understanding that I was interested in plants. Because I had been visiting the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden since I was six years old and was fairly familiar with it, I turned to the Arboretum’s website to see if they were offering any internship opportunities. The internship with the Arboretum Teaching Nursery caught my eye, and my participation in it has changed my life.

Before that experience, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my career. I didn’t know that I had a passion for plant propagation and the nursery business, or even that those fields were viable options for employment. Over the course of the 2014-2015 school year, that vague preference for plants transformed into a life goal: I knew, very quickly, that I wanted to work in the nursery business.

Coming to this realization was natural, and glaringly obvious once I had come to it. My favorite part of every week was working with Taylor Lewis, Lisa Fowler, and fellow interns, regardless of the task at hand; whether organizing rows, doing transplants, pruning, or cleaning sprinkler heads. This internship would not have had the same effect on me without my wonderful mentors and peers who pushed me to work hard, ask questions, and really try to understand the issues pertinent to plant production.

Perhaps even more influential than the internship was the student employee position that followed. In October 2015 I began working at the Arboretum’s greenhouse as a nursery assistant, propagating plants that would ultimately be sold at the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden Plant Sales. This was where my desire to propagate plants really started, and where I learned more about plants and their production than I have anywhere else, including the classroom. Thanks to Taylor Lewis’s fantastic teaching and mentoring, I have picked up the skills and knowledge I need to succeed in my future career. Taylor, and the Arboretum Teaching Nursery in general, have been the most influential factors in my college career.

The effect that my involvement with the Arboretum has had on my education and my future is nearly incomprehensible to me. I can hardly imagine the last two years without the nursery or the greenhouse, the hands-on experience I gained every week, or the amazing friends I have made while working here. These experiences, connections, and memories are invaluable to me and I will carry them with me as I move on in my career.

Currently, I am applying to nurseries and gardens around Northern California, where I hope to stay for the next few years. I am eager to start my career outside of UC Davis and the Arboretum, and to spread the knowledge and love of plants I have gained here. Words are not enough to express the gratitude and respect I feel for this beautiful place; and though I will likely have many jobs in my life, I will always recognize the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden as the place where it all began.

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