A bit more about me
Growing up in a family of gardeners, I learned to appreciate the beauty of nature and the joy of spending time outside. I earned a BS in Biology from SUNY at Fredonia (’75), worked in sales for many years, and was fortunate to be able to stay at home to raise my children (and garden!). It was the fateful combination of a visit to the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House outside of St. Louis and the removal of old junipers from my yard that led to the creation of my own butterfly garden and my ever-growing fascination with butterflies.
In 2002, I designed and installed a handicap-accessible butterfly and sensory garden at an equine-assisted therapy facility and also began tagging monarch butterflies for Monarch Watch. It’s been very exciting to have a few of my tagged monarchs found at the overwintering sites in Mexico. I reentered the workforce in 2003 when I joined the staff at The Natural Garden, Inc. in St. Charles, IL, a nursery that specialized in local ecotype native plants. I continue to work seasonally in the green industry as an employee of Midwest Groundcovers, a wholesale plant nursery that purchased The Natural Garden in 2011.
My first butterfly presentation was given to my daughter’s fifth grade class on the morning of September 11, 2001. Everyone was extremely uneasy, both adults and children. However, as we talked about butterflies, with the assistance of a caterpillar, a chrysalis and a couple of adult butterflies, the tension eased. It was reassuring to know that some of the beauty in the world had not changed. It made our place in the world seem safer. Seeing people of all ages enjoy the wonder of these amazing creatures is so rewarding.
In December of 2019, I was certified by the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy Guides. On nature therapy walks, guides invite participants to take part in activities that awaken the senses, help them be mindful of their surroundings and begin to build a deeper connection with nature. The Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku ("Forest Bathing"), was developed in Japan in the ‘80s. It has become a component of their preventative healthcare. The positive effects of spending time in nature on one’s health and well-being have been recognized by many world cultures for hundreds of years. Today, a multitude of studies conducted around the world have shown that time spent in nature is beneficial for both our physical and mental health.