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Meet our Horticulture Team

Blog, Other Happenings November 2018

Minnetrista has some of the most beautiful grounds in East Central Indiana. We take immense pride in the work that is done and seek to hire the best team around. Meet our Horticulture Team! Led by their fearless leader James Edwards, the Horticulture Team is comprised of Lindsey Cox, Parker Gagliano, Amelia Rule, James LeCount, and longtime volunteer, Brian Beale.

The Hort. Team is responsible for twenty-one acres of ornamental gardens and natural areas at Minnetrista. Our Horticulture team works tirelessly to take care of not just the plant life, but animals that may be living in the trees or burrowed underground. They take pride in not disturbing the habitats of some of East Central Indiana’s finest nature areas.

Minnetrista wouldn’t be as beautiful, timeless, and well-cared for if we didn’t have this well-rounded team. It is evident, with this level of passion and dedication from the Horticulture Team, Minnetrista will be a beautiful place for visitors for years to come.

Meet the team, and if you see them around Minnetrista don’t hesitate to stop them and ask any questions you might have about the gardens and natural areas.

Top L-R: James LeCount, Brian Beale
Middle L-R:  Amelia Rule, Lindsey Cox, James Edwards
Font: Parker Gagliano

James Edwards:

Responsibilities:

  • 21-acres of ornamental gardens and natural areas
  • Maintaining and training the crew of gardeners
  • Designing and planning all annual displays which are changed seasonally
  • Work toward institutional goals
  • Manage everything that grows on campus expect for the turf

Inspiration:

I’m inspired by natural beauty, design, and architecture as well from the past and historical Ball gardening legacy.

Background:

I grew up in southern Indiana in a town called North Vernon. I moved to Muncie in 2006. I am an Indiana Accredited Horticulturist by the Indiana Nursery and Landscape Association and a member of the American Horticultural Society.

Favorite Part:

My favorite part of my job is designing and seeing what you have created throughout the growing season. Being outside and part of the natural environment and shaping the outdoor spaces. Partnering with community members to make a difference in the community.

 

James LeCount:

Responsibilities:

  • Nature Area
  • Rain Garden
  • Main Entrances
  • Organic Garden
  • Orchard
  • Riverwalk

Inspiration:

I have a drive to learn as much as I can about anything and provide a healthy environment for everyone to live in so they can have the best quality of life they can. This is our home (planet) we should keep it clean.

Background:

I graduated from Ball State University in 2015 with a degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Management. I love to garden, especially when it pertains to edibles (vegetables and fruits).

Favorite Part:

My favorite part of the job is being outdoors and interacting with visitors.

 

Parker Gagliano:

Responsibilities:

Maintaining the Gardens of Minnetrista—watering, weeding, and planting.

Inspiration:

Currently I’m inspired by the changing color of the leaves this fall!

Background:

Most of my work background is not applicable, but I do a porch top garden at my apartment every year with herbs and flowers, and maintain a vegetable garden with a friend in the summer. We make dinners in the summertime with the fresh produce we harvest and invite our friends.

Favorite Part:

I enjoy the days I get to work solo, I listen to NPR or music the time always seems to fly.

 

Amelia Rule:

Responsibilities:

Identifying and celebrating all kinds of life, in the hopes that other people can appreciate them too (for example, in the larval garden and it’s important to know what is a host plant for caterpillars and nymphs so that they might flourish). Also, answering questions from the public about nature and wildlife.

Inspiration:

Being outdoors nearly all the time isn’t always a walk in the park, but it is one of my biggest inspirations. Being exposed to the elements, surrounded by plants, animals and insects inspires me to get up and do it all over again the next day. Sharing these experiences and bits of knowledge with visitors and school tours also motivates me.

Background:

I’m a Muncie native and have been strolling around Minnetrista for as long as I can remember. I’ve participated in many events, workshops, and my mother and I used to tag monarchs to track their migration route. I have always been a nature nerd, constantly accumulating fun facts and fearlessly picking up snakes, praying mantis, opossums… you name it.

Favorite Part:

Honestly, my favorite part of the job is something I never would have predicted. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about power tools and utility vehicles that I never would have dreamed of operating… even if a certain co-worker recently called me Bob the Builder. I’ll take it as a compliment!

 

Brian Beale:

Responsibilities:

  • 40-acre trash run
  • Apple drops in the Orchard every fall
  • Ivy in several areas around campus
  • Backyard children’s garden
  • Nature Area

Inspiration:

I just like it. I like being here, and the people are nice. I enjoy the hawks, eagles and fish we get to see outdoors.

Background:

I grew up in Colorado and moved to Indiana in 2004. I do yardwork for some ladies at my church and help people with their gardens to make them look better. I also volunteer with Muncie Civic Theatre and the youth group at my church.

Favorite Part:

Meeting new people, getting to know them and hear their stories, whether they are full-time staff or seasonal.

 

Lindsey Cox:

Responsibilities:

  • Herb Garden
  • Rose Garden
  • Other ornamental gardens near the museum, such as the Bird and Butterfly Gardens

Inspiration:

My inspiration is enhancing experiences for the everyday visitor, including dogs! I love plants, nature in general, and being outdoors, so this job immerses us in all of those.  Being in tune with every season feels good for the soul. Sometimes we get to see magical things like a hawk perched just a few feet above us in a tree or watching a monarch butterfly or baby praying mantes hatch, not to mention those beautiful sunrises and early spring wildflowers in Oakhurst!

Background:

My background is a little all over the place. I graduated through BSU’s Teachers College to be a school library media specialist, but never pursued a career in that since graduation in 2011. I worked at Muncie Public Library during college and worked at BSU’s Bracken Library after graduation. I have worked for a local non-profit and Main Street organization in my hometown of Farmland and with love for local food at the Downtown Farm Stand here in Muncie, where I gained management experience during those positions. My gardening experience has been at home. I learned a few things from my dad and my grandparents through the years. My husband’s grandmother is who taught me about vegetable gardening. I started at Minnetrista as a seasonal gardener during the spring of 2017 and was promoted to Horticulture Specialist three months later. I am constantly learning, gaining skills, and I love it!

Favorite Part:

My favorite part of the job besides working with plants, seeing them grow, and being in nature, is working with the community. I love building relationships with others and being a part of the Urban Garden Coalition, Local Food Council, and being in the Whitely community – with seed and seedling donations to organizations, community gardens and individuals, taking veggie, fruit and herb donations from our Community and Demonstration Gardens to the Food Boxes at the Connection Corner, and conversing with folks who participate in our pop-up gardening. Occasionally we have custom school group tours in the gardens, and I love participating in those, as well.

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