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Linnaeus Garden volunteers, Emely Shepherd (left) and Debbie Smithey kneel next to a block of Linnaeus Memory Bricks, which fund the college internship at the garden. courtesy/Barry Fugatt

For the past 10 years the Linnaeus Teaching Garden in Woodward Park, a project of the Tulsa Garden Center, has provided a summer internship to a deserving student from the OSU School of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. The student is paid $15 an hour and also earns three hours of college credit toward their degree.

The summer internship has proven to be a win-win for the student and for the Linnaeus Garden. The student gains valuable work place experience in horticulture along with a sharpening of real-life social skills gained by directly working with the public and with several hundred passionate Linnaeus Garden volunteers.

The Linnaeus Teaching Garden benefits by having the strong arms and back of a young person to help with the heavy lifting needed to maintain the beautiful garden during hot summer months. We also are richly blessed by knowing that we are helping a young student get off to a great start in the challenging field of horticulture. Today, past Linnaeus interns are engaged in meaningful horticulture careers in Oklahoma and a number of other states. College students who have gone through the rigorous intern training program all joyfully acknowledge that their summer spent working in the Linnaeus Teaching Garden was a priceless experience.

Funding the summer internship is primarily through the sale of “Memory Bricks.” The bricks are laser etched with up to three lines of script honoring a donor’s spouse, child, friend, organization, etc. and permanently placed in one of the beautiful stone walks in the Linnaeus Garden. The cost of a Memory Brick is $100, with all proceeds dedicated to the Summer Intern Program.

Asking for help, it seems to me, can be one of the tougher things we do in life. It requires a degree of humility and an admission that a given task or goal simply isn’t doable without help from others. On behalf of future Linnaeus Garden interns, we’re asking for your help.

Please consider buying a memory brick in honor of someone or something that has special meaning in your life. It’s a perfect and lasting holiday gift. Plus, you will be investing in the education of a deserving student who, hopefully, will accomplish great things in their horticultural career. Truly, a win-win for the student, the donor and the Linnaeus Teaching Garden! Hardly a day passes that I don’t pause as I walk through the Linnaeus Teaching Garden and glance down at several bricks honoring my mom and dad. Seeing their names permanently displayed in this very special garden is a huge blessing to me.

To make a tax-deductible #GivingTuesday donation, or to purchase a Linnaeus Garden Commemorative Brick, please visit us online at: linnaeusteachinggarden.org/donate

Barry Fugatt is director of horticulture at the Tulsa Garden Center and Linnaeus Teaching Garden. He may be reached at: 918-576-5152 or email: bfugatt@tulsagardencenter.org


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