While on a 7 year journey around the world with her husband in her 20’s, Jennifer Gardner had a thought while visiting a New York arboretum “it would be wonderful to work in a place like this” never imagining that she would one day have such a dream job. On arrival back in Adelaide she finished her Science degree and went on to complete a PhD in Systematic Entomology.
The timing would happen that a new position as the Curator of The Waite Arboretum at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus, was created just as she finished her PhD! That job opening has resulted in Jennifer’s life work and passion. Contributing significantly to the development of the collection and involving the broader community by creating a vibrant volunteer program, and co-founding the Friends of the Waite Arboretum, Friends of the Waite Conservation Reserve and the organisation TREENET. Jennifer has recently retired from The Waite Arboretum but she couldn’t stay away and now holds an Honorary position to work on special projects and other volunteer activities.
I asked Jennifer if she had ever worn a pedometer to count her steps throughout the day, she hasn’t but confesses that the 30 hectare site she’s walked around daily for the past 31 years would total a lot of steps!
Earlier this year, Jennifer was awarded an OAM, Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to the environment and conservation.
If you’ve never visited The Waite Arboretum, I suggest you do one day as there are not only 2,400 trees to ponder (which you can find out extra information through the mobile application – check website link below) but a Rose Garden, a Garden of Discovery, a Sensory Garden, sculptures and special features including a native beehive, plus the very cool labyrinth, personally designed and constructed by Jennifer herself.