Intern to Horticulturist to Leader in Conservation

Josh is going back to school! I’m returning to school here at UW in June to pursue a Master’s in Environmental Conservation. I’m pumped! A major influence in this decision was observing the amount of water usage, plastic and waste in the horticulture industry. I also think about our constant developments in roads, homes and businesses and the plant and animal communities that are eliminated from them. Many of these spaces are filled with turf lawns and/or concrete and not replaced with what was once there. There’s got to be a better way. We need to ask ourselves: what are we gardening for? Is it for beauty? Is it to keep up with the Jone’s? Or is it to support our environment? There is no right answer or wrong answer; it’s really about our approach, goals, and if we are open to learn a few new things.

More about Environmental Conservation: The EC program is built on the legacies of environmental leaders such as Aldo Leopold and Gaylord Nelson, which will help advance my leadership in horticulture through environmental management skills and practices. My end goal is to bridge conservation and horticulture together in order to better support our surrounding ecosystems, communities and environment. Several core courses that will strengthen my leadership in my field include grassland and restorative ecology, sustainable development and conservation planning. I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with the gardening community and anyone else who is interested. I will still be in and around the Garden, just part time.

Let’s garden for a future, not just a season!

Josh Steger | Director of Horticulture