My Summer at the Houston ArboretumGrowing up as a native Houstonian, I have spent many a free day roaming up and down the trails of the Houston Arboretum. For years, I have called this place my little piece of solace. I only allow special people to join me for my quiet nature walks, and every time I invite someone new I receive the same response-“Why haven’t I known about this place?”
The answer is simple. Those of us who know and regular the Arboretum enjoy keeping it our personal little secret. Unlike neighboring cities like Austin, Houston lacks the pristine, natural beauty that attracts the outdoor lovers-hikers, water sport enthusiasts, bird watchers, and college students away from the city life. However, places like the Arboretum act as reminder that the natural world is all around us-even right in the middle of one of the nation’s largest cities.
On just 155-acres of land, the Arboretum is host to various native plants and species that honestly I would have never heard of or been interested in looking up. I like many city dwellers, can become so preoccupied with the mundane intricacies of life. The hustle and bustle of the metropolitan days can oftentimes get so overwhelming-traffic jams, distressing news reports, pollution. I tend to forget how important it is to just stop, breathe, and take it all in. That’s why I’m so glad there are places like the Arboretum that help remind us city folk of the truly magical wonders this world offers us even though we take it for granted.
I guess first and foremost I’m writing this piece as a thank you to Shell and the entire Arboretum staff for being so sweet and open as I have journeyed through this experience. Summer internships are hard to come by especially in this economy where everyone is fighting for a chance. I really do appreciate the chance to learn and work in an environment that promotes social awareness and just has a great set of people on staff, and you can’t forget the volunteers! Everyday I’ve come in; I’ve watched countless dedicated workers do their part to help keep the wheels churning so the Arboretum can be a fully functioning non-profit for the community. This quest for change and constant improvement is what makes organizations like the Arboretum truly beautiful, not just the flowers.
I am so grateful for my experience this summer. It is a tad bittersweet as I tie up loose ends, putting finishing touches on my final projects, but I will take along many new skills and hopefully a few new friends. My love for nature and Houston’s commune of trees will continue to be in my heart, even after I leave.