Posts Tagged ‘Reid Pearlman’

New interns join The Gardens for the Summer of 2013

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

New interns join The Gardens for the Summer of 2013

Three new interns join The Gardens for the summer of 2013: Caroline Rowan, Ian Hazelhoff and Reid Pearlman. The group joined Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator John Manion on Tuesday for some work in The Gardens, and The Gardens Blog had its first opportunity for introductions.

Caroline Rowan (above) is entering her Junior year at Birmingham-Southern College and is a graduate of Mountain Brook High School. She is majoring in Biology with a minor in Urban Environmental Studies and Psychology. After graduation she plans on perusing a career in field biology. Caroline’s passion for nature and learning makes Birmingham Botanical Gardens a great environment for her summer internship. She credits The Gardens as one of the first places to spark her interest in the natural world. Caroline has grown up with The Gardens as a part of her life and is excited to now be working here. As she experiences life at The Gardens she hopes to uncover more of her interests and pursuits. Caroline will be focusing on the George Ward Park replanting project and will be evaluating the reforested area. She will also be exploring other aspects of the Gardens. Her internship is a 10-week program funded by Little Garden Club and Red Mountain Garden Club.

Ian Hazelhoff (above) is the 2013 Shades Valley Rotary Club intern at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. As a recent graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South, he is eager to implement ideas in the landscape of Birmingham. A Birmingham native, he attended The Altamont School.  During his time at Sewanee,  he studied plant physiology, water policy, ecology and forestry. Forest dynamics and ecology training have led him to fascination with how natural systems interact with the urban landscape. He believes that effective landscape design and use brings the inherant value of the land to the forefront. He believes that sound environments and green space can increase economic value of their surroundings while providing ecosystem services for communities.  He hopes to be progressive in his approach to design in projects this summer.  
Reid Pearlman has been interested in plants since he was a child. He enjoys spending time outdoors, especially if he is fishing, hiking or botanizing. Reid will be entering his senior year at Vestavia Hills High School this fall. Reid plans to attend college and graduate school and work in the field of botany or medicine.  

Voluteer Spotlight: Reid Pearlman

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Reid Pearlman is a sophomore at Vestavia Hills High School. He volunteers in the Japanese Gardens with John Floyd, Mike Rushing and Bob Wendorf. Reid is one of the many young people that choose to take advantage of unique educational opportunities at The Gardens, while helping maintain its beauty. Above, he is front and center, surrounded by the three doctors and the crew that helps maintain the Japanese Gardens.

How did you become interested in working with the Bonsai group?  Volunteering in the Japanese Gardens? I have never seen anything like the Japanese Gardens before. I found it unique and interesting.

What do you think makes a person a good volunteer? Being hardworking and willing to learn.

How or why did you become interested in cultivating Bonsai trees? Dr. Bob Wendorf introduced me to Bonsai. Since then, they have fascinated me.

Where do you see yourself volunteering with the Japanese Gardens and the Bonsai Group? Are you interested in working with any other plant group or society? I see myself trying to help make The Gardens the best that they can be.

Do you feel it is important for your generation to volunteer? Why? Yes. We want to give something back to the great country that has been so generous to us.

What are your academic and/or career goals once you graduate high school? I plan on attending college and then graduate school. I have many interests including botany, ichthyology and zoology.

What attracts you to working/ volunteering at Birmingham Botanical Gardens? The thing that I find most attractive about The Gardens is interacting with all of the knowledgeable people

Do you volunteer with any other organization? Not at this time.

What is important to you as a volunteer at The Gardens? What do you see as the result of your volunteering? As a volunteer, I have been able to learn a great deal about plants, both local and foreign. I have been privileged to be educated by some of the most knowledgeable people in the field of botany.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know about your experience working and volunteering at The Gardens? I am looking forward to doing it more in the future.

The Three Docs

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

(Pictured, L to R): Dr. John Floyd, Gary Bailey, Reid Pearlman, Mike Rushing, Bob Wendorf

Dr. John Floyd served as editor of Southern Living for 18 years. Today, he greets visitors to the Japanese Gardens as its anonymous, volunteer tour guide.

“How are you doing today?” he asks the parents.

“What did you come to see? The turtles?” he asks the children.

He sweats alongside two other doctors of eclectic practice – Dr. Bob Wendorf and Dr. Mike Rushing – the former, a psychologist and president of the Japanese Garden Society of Alabama (recently published in Alabama Heritage), the latter, a veterinarian who served the USDA. Each Tuesday, the three doctors groom one of The Gardens’ most recognizable, and one of the largest of its kind. Alone. These are “The Three Docs.”

“It’s an enormous garden,” said Wendorf. “Bigger than most in Japan.”

“Portland is the largest in the U.S. and they have 40 gardeners on staff,” said Rushing. “We have zero.”

Still, the three manage to maintain the beauty by practicing the art of “concealing and revealing” – creating lines of sight and allowing visitors to see glimpses of the Japanese Gardens most unique features (like the Japanese Tea House), while not offering complete views – a defining characteristic of Japanese Gardens worldwide.

“(Before we began work in the Japanese Gardens) there were places here you couldn’t tell was a garden,” said Wendorf. “Now you can tell its a garden.”

The three doctors have not spent an eternity together, despite creating a bond that feels that way. “It feels like ten years,” said Rushing. “But I think it’s been ten months.”

The lack of attention the Japanese Gardens received brought them. “Needs!” said Floyd, asked why this group chose this garden. “I was in the Kaul Wildflower Garden until they hired someone full time. I began working on another garden for a while, but then I saw that this one was in bad shape.”

“It was the squeakiest hinge,” said Rushing of the Japanese Gardens need for attention. “So they won’t let me leave. They know all of my embarassing information and I wouldn’t want them putting it on the Internet.”

Maintenance can be daunting. The garden’s grand scale can be difficult to manage for just three men. Still, they have managed to manicure one of the finest of its kind, despite its acreage far outnumbering its caregivers. Typically, similar gardens have at least one gardener per acre.

“In this garden, the problem isn’t grooming the thing we planted,” said Rushing. “It’s the plants that volunteered to be a part of our scheme.”

“Every rock that was put here was put here for a reason,” said Wendorf, uncovering a large rock no longer visible because of its surrounding growth.

Each have carved their own contribution. “Inspiration, education and perspiration,” said Rushing, of what brought these minds together. “And you can guess who’s who. You can learn a lot from these guys. They’re encyclopedias in sundry things.”

But it’s not all work. “We have to laugh,” said Floyd. “It’s good for our souls. They can always hear me laugh, so they always know I’m coming.”

Most visitors can’t detect imperfections. But the three doctors’ marriage to these gardens won’t allow them the same enjoyment.

“We can’t see progress,” said Rushing. “Our trained eye just sees weeds and weeds and weeds. The public just sees a nice garden.”

An education awaits. On this day, these three inconspicuous men are shaping the mind of Vestavia Hills sophomore Reid Pearlman. He can’t yet drive, but his effort to tend this garden affords him a collegiate education from men with doctorates from Illinois (Wendorf), Clemson (Floyd) and Texas A&M (Rushing).

“The Gardens is also an integral part in helping us do what we’ve done here,” said Floyd, crediting men like Nick Majors and Gary Bailey for their work in maintaining and clearing the doctors’ weedy mess.

The Three Doctors need your help. Volunteers of all ages are encouraged to join these unique men, absorbing their knowledge and enjoying their humor. The group currently gathers in the Japanese Gardens on Monday mornings. For more information on how you can offer your services, contact Mary-Bestor Grant at 205.414.3962 or mgrant@bbgardens.org.