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Volunteer Spotlight: Chris Holt
Aug 01

Volunteer Spotlight: Chris Holt

By Genesis Harshell

Phipps is well-known for our beautiful gardens, seasonal flower shows, pioneering sustainability initiatives, informative educational programs and community outreach. None of our work, however, would be possible without the knowledge and dedication of our volunteers. In this series of profiles, we meet some of the people who give their time to make Phipps possible.

Former Shady Side Academy teacher, Chris Holt has been a lifelong artist and passionate blacksmith with a love for gardening and plants! Gardening is something that has been a constant in her life since early childhood and continues to be a part of her daily routine. She said that, “everyday has included some aspect of gardening, whether it is checking on a plant or weeding. It is how I start my day and conclude my day’s work.” She has even started to incorporate her love for plants into her work, drawing inspiration from different botanical themes.

Chris was familiar with Phipps and would visit on occasion, however it was when she stumbled upon information about the Master Gardener Program that she knew this was the perfect fit for her. It was because of this unexpected encounter that she was able to start her volunteering journey over twenty years ago in 1999 and has been with us ever since!

She has experienced a wide array of opportunities in her volunteering career here at Phipps. She states, “I have had the opportunity to clean out the greenhouse at the Garden Center and experienced the luxury of arriving at the Conservatory early on a weekend morning to complete tasks. I’ve also spent time designing stunning wreaths and centerpieces with a creative team for the Green Sale, helping prepare for the Native Plant Sale and assisting a respected chef in the classic Botany Hall!” No matter what her task for the day may be, it is impossible for Chris to become bored because there’s something new right around the corner to learn about.

When it came to deciding on her favorite part about being a volunteer at Phipps, Chris listed examples of being able to learn basics about the art of Bonsai from another volunteer and helping with the Greenline to encourage herself and others to learn more about their interests and issues. At the core, she made a point that though there are endless examples she could give, her overall favorite part of volunteering is simply being around to exchange information and learn so many new things about plants and gardening. Chris adds, “Plus…it is just so beautiful at Phipps, what’s not to love?” Chris is ready to share her knowledge and love of plants with you!

Photo © Paul g. Wiegman