Internships a Win-Win for Gardens and Students

Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, July 22, 2014

From the Elizabethan Gardens

MANTEO — This summer two bright young minds shared fresh ideas and received valuable career experience at The Elizabethan Gardens due to generous sponsorship from the Dunes of Dare and New Bern Garden Clubs. By sponsoring the program, these garden clubs have made a profound impression upon interns Hannah Simpson and Sarah Pacheco, and The Gardens as well.

“I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to run a public garden and a non-profit,” touts Simpson a recent graduate of North Carolina State University. The Statesville, NC resident has used her horticulture degree for real-life experiences. She joins fellow intern Sarah Pacheco, a Virginia Tech senior environmental science major from Fredericksburg in the summer program.

In their summer work, Simpson and Pacheco have interacted with employees from all areas of the gardens including maintenance, sales and special events.

“We have enjoyed spending time with the gardening staff assisting with daily upkeep, as well as rehabilitating various beds,” commented Pacheco. “One of our main projects this summer has been to identify plants throughout the gardens and provide appropriate signage for visitors.” Pacheco and Simpson identified over 100 plants and created applicable displays throughout the 10-acre site.

Simpson, who has hopes for a career with a residential landscaping firm, has particularly enjoyed rehabilitating beds. She commented, “I enjoy the gratification of choosing plants that compliment one another with contrasting textures and colors. Once planted it’s nice to step back with pride and look upon your hard work.”

“Without a doubt, we’ve truly benefitted from our interns,” said Carl Curnutte Executive Director of The Elizabethan Gardens. “They’ve had a chance to work on skills in problem solving, teamwork and communication. The experience affords them a better understanding of how their education applies to real world situations. And through this process they have left a lasting impression on The Gardens as well. Their cheerful demeanor, professionalism and attitude have been exemplary.”

Their training in design and the environment paid off. Their task was to enhance the event tent area and incorporate the rose garden into a design that uses an undeveloped area. “We took measurements, conducted research, and created a design for the area that includes a patio, a variety of plants, and a fountain generously donated to the gardens,” said Pacheco. Once complete, their project will become a welcome feature at The Elizabethan Gardens.

Simpson concluded, “It’s such a beautiful and historic site, we’re proud to have left our mark on the gardens. And with some of the great things happening there, I am excited to have been a part of it all.”