Creating a Welcoming Environment for Everyone

Kathy Guertze

Kathy GuertzeKathy Guertze

Environmental Horticulture and Urban Forestry
Sustainable Horticulture Co-Coordinator (Fall 2015-Fall 2016)
Nursery Intern (Fall 2016)
Sustainable Horticulture Intern (Spring 2015)


I feel extremely fortunate to have been a part of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden Learning by Leading Program.  I am passionate about the plants and trees, and the environmental, social and ecological benefits they provide. My time with the Arboretum gave me the opportunity to work with and learn about plants and trees outside of the classroom.  Actively coordinating the whole process of a landscape transforming from grass to carefully designed low impact sustainable landscaping, gave me the confidence and ability to lead a landscape crew in a future position. Throughout the process I gained valuable skills, such as irrigation building and design, landscape building and design, choosing the right plants for the right place, and providing proper plant care and maintenance.

Coordinating the Sustainable Horticulture internship assisted me in building strong relationships with the interns and other coordinators. The staff at the Arboretum were great role models for how to be a supportive and encouraging leader. Being a Coordinator, I discovered that the best way to master anything is to teach it to others.  I found out that one of my natural strengths is the ability to work well with various different personalities.  I also learned that each individual in a group has unique qualities and strengths to contribute to the whole. Learning to collaborate with others and allow space for differing opinions, helped me to grow as an individual. Allowing myself to listen to others and not be so attached to my ideas was also something I gained from the experience. Teamwork and collaboration across different disciplines and majors helps us create more holistic solutions to designing a landscape for social and ecological uses. The social and practical skills provided by the Learning by Leading program provided me with a foundation of landscape professionalism and leadership experience to carry into future positions wherever I end up.