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Interns get busy at Bloedel Reserve

This summer’s interns at the Bloedel Reserve are Gytano Foster-Lehr, Tatyana Vashchenko, Gabie Lockwood and Jackson Beytebiere.  - Photo courtesy of the Bloedel Reserve
This summer’s interns at the Bloedel Reserve are Gytano Foster-Lehr, Tatyana Vashchenko, Gabie Lockwood and Jackson Beytebiere.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the Bloedel Reserve

The interns at the Bloedel Reserve work the grounds, their minds and their muscles.

Four plant-loving students have spent their summer working hard at the Bloedel Reserve. Together the group has enjoyed learning from the professional horticultural staff and being surrounded by fellow plant lovers.

“When I tell my friends I want to work in horticulture, they are like, ‘What?,’” recalled intern Gabie Lockwood. “Here at the reserve I get to talk with other people who find plants as exciting as I do.”

The interns help with landscaping, cataloging plants and general garden maintenance like mowing the lawns— something all four didn’t realize how precise it could be until working at the reserve.

They are also responsible for completing this year’s legacy project, which is to revamp the seating area by the Swan Pond and enhance the trail to the pond.

“The interns are the future,” said Ed Moydell, executive director of the reserve. “It warms my heart to hear them speak so lovingly and passionately about plants and horticulture.”

This year’s 2013 high school and college interns are Lockwood, Jackson Beytebiere, Gytano Foster-Lehr and Tatyana Vashchenko.

Beytebiere is a recent graduate from Bainbridge Island High School and has always enjoyed vegetable gardening.

He applied for the internship to give him great work experience and to further his career options. He hopes to work in the agricultural industry.

Foster-Lehr will be a senior at Chimicum School District’s Alternative School.

Foster-Lehr is the only returning intern from last summer and has enjoyed seeing the different changes in the garden. He said that between working a desk job or being outside, he’d pick outside every time.

Lockwood will be a senior at South Kitsap High School and first visited the Reserve last year on a class fieldtrip. After graduation, she plans on attending South Seattle Community College to study horticulture.

Her favorite part of the internship is seeing all the rare plants.

Vashchenko is the college intern who recently graduated from the University of California, Berkeley where she studied landscape architecture.

Interestingly, the California-native studied the Reserve for a class assignment, but her first visit to Bloedel wasn’t until this year. Tatyana enjoys seeing the design process take shape in the field — often straight from the horticulturist’s mind to the ground. She’s also enjoyed getting to connect with the reserve on a very personal level.

Thanks to the generous sponsors of the internship program — Columbia Bank, Juniper Foundation, The Lady Foundation and Bainbridge Island Community Foundation — students have experienced a profession that they might not otherwise know exists.

“As a student, my eyes were opened to the field of public horticulture through internships at public gardens,” Moydell said. “At the reserve, we have the opportunity to inspire future generations and the responsibility to educate young people about career opportunities. I can’t think of a better way than through the internship program.”

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