Article by Teresa Cook, Content Director | email@example.com
Ann Green says she gets to work in a tropical paradise, so what’s not to like?
As the new director of that paradise, the Rawlings Conservatory in Baltimore, she loves to watch people’s reactions when they visit.
“People are so blown away” by the plants and the building, and seeing that reaction is a real treat for her, she said.
Ann is not new to the Conservatory. She was the Volunteer Coordinator and Webmaster for seven years before her promotion to the top job.
She’s always loved gardening. Growing up in the suburbs of Howard County, Ann said,
“We three children were my mother’s and father’s little
work horses. We did vegetable and flower gardening. It was the most fun chore there was, even weeding.”
Gardening has been a life-long passion since then. She tends ornamental, vegetable, and herb gardens in her yard in Baltimore, and cares for an extensive collection of houseplants.
With a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from St. Mary’s College and a master’s in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Ann has a background in non-profit management and community engagement that she is eager to put to work to grow the Conservatory.
For her graduate degree, she had an internship with the Friends of Druid Hill Park and helped get the farmers’ market established. From there, she was offered the volunteer coordinator job at the Conservatory.
“Working with volunteers is so rewarding! Their work amplifies what our staff does in really remarkable ways,” she said.
She appreciates those volunteers, too — “We have so many dedicated volunteers” who make contributions in caring for plants as well as providing programming and visitor services.
Now in her new post, she said she’s extremely busy, taking care of the plants and the facility with a staff of just two full-time and six part-time employees. “The staff are awesome.” And don’t forget the four-legged staff – Conservatory cat, Mango, is a favorite of Ann’s.
The programming at the Conservatory has made a name for the Rawlings, she said. Seasonal shows, cocktail events, children’s programming and other educational programs bring in visitors. Local art teachers bring students to do painting or illustration projects which are then shown in the Conservatory. It’s a busy place, even on a winter afternoon.
For the future, Ann said a big capital project is in the planning stages: The original 130-year-old glass Palm House needs renovation. Re-design of the outdoor gardens and enclosing it in a deer-proof fence is another hoped-for improvement on her wish list.
Ann invites visitors to keep coming back. “The Conservatory changes all the time, even if you’ve been here, there is something different in bloom now. It’s a wonderful place to visit throughout the year.”
Spring events coming up at the Rawlings Conservatory
“The Gnome and Garden Show” – April 6-21. The Conservatory’s annual spring show features hundreds of flowers grown from bulbs arranged with other spring plants and, this year, a scattering of garden gnomes. See how many little guys you can find among the blooms! Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.
Tree Baltimore’s Fruit Tree Fair, noon – 3 p.m. April 13. This year’s family-friendly atmosphere features a fruit tree giveaway, nature play space for kids, various environmental and community non-profit groups, food, and drink. Local emcee Alanah Nichole introduces various artists of all ages performing spoken word poetry and live music. Visit the vendor tents to learn about honey bees and native pollinators, plants for the orchard, and more!
Community Gardening Day – May 23, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Help other volunteers, students and community members plant the outdoor gardens at the Conservatory and enjoy lunch provided by the Friends of the Rawlings Conservatory.
Visit Rawlingsconservatory.org for details on these and other events.