My journey with The Arboretum, as an employee, started in April of 2010. I had been through The Arboretum many times before, whether on a mountain bike, running, or walking through the collections, attempting to correctly identify various trees. Every day things are changing at The Arboretum and it results in an exciting, diverse environment for work and to use recreationally.
I grew up in a small town, Roseneath, that is just south of Rice Lake, in Central Ontario. I grew up as a farm kid, and that is where my love for the outdoors started. I went to high school in Cobourg, and then completed a 2 year Geomatics Technician diploma at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay. The Frost campus in Lindsay is very small, and very involved in everything to do with the outdoors. This was the right place for me. After Fleming, I moved to Guelph to attend Conestoga College. I started working at The Arboretum through my time at Conestoga College during the summer seasons, but also, part time during the year. I graduated as an Environmental/Civil Engineering Technologist in the spring of 2012 and had been working under contract until November 2013. I have been very fortunate, and since November have been employed full-time by the University.
One of the most appealing truths about working at The Arboretum is that we are a small staff and subsequently a wide array of tasks and jobs occur in the day-in, day-out routine. My position is focused in two main areas; the first one being a Mapping Technician, and the second, an Equipment Operator.
The mapping technician portion of my job has me working and collecting data from the Arboretum grounds. We have been making a concerted effort to update collection records, and this has me closely working alongside our Curator (Aron) and our Horticultural Intern (Polly) to produce up-to-date maps of collections. This helps with ongoing tasks to be completed in the collections, but also, the future plans of the grounds. Another task that is ongoing is transferring the data to be made accessible for the public to use.
The other half of my job is quite a bit harder to describe, as it changes every day (this is a great problem to have). I spend a lot of time pruning and completing tree removals, planting trees, operating heavy equipment, operating and organizing lawnmowers on the grounds, maintaining equipment, constructing new features etc. I think to sum up this portion; I just do whatever is needed.
The Arboretum has one of the most incredibly enthusiastic, genuine staffs that I have experienced. They make it a joy to come to work. The grounds are assorted and offer something new each and every day, but don’t just take my word for it, come for a visit, and say “hi” to the staff.