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News . Feature Stories . Botanical gardens job sparks interest in environmental education


August 19, 2020

Botanical gardens job sparks interest in environmental education

Biomedical Illustration major Chyna LaPorte had wide-ranging responsibilities during her summer at the Monk Botanical Gardens.

For the second summer in a row, Biomedical Illustration major Chyna LaPorte ’21 interned at the Monk Botanical Gardens in Wausau, Wisconsin. She also freelances for the organization during the school year. We caught up with her in mid-summer, while she was still in the midst of the work.

What was the nature of your internship work with Monk?
I'm doing a lot of graphic design work in addition to making signs for a new garden that is being installed. The signs feature the “Anatomy of a Shade Garden” and “How to Read Our Scientific Labels.” Both are extremely relevant to my major, as I’m doing botanical illustrations and diagrams to explain both of these topics.

I’m coordinating the information with a group called The Master Gardeners, my executive director here at the gardens, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. There are so many different elements to this project that keeping everything organized and on time is CRUCIAL. There are a lot of moving parts and people involved, so it has been a challenge getting this far.

How did you get the internship and how well prepared were you?

Last summer, I found the position through an organization called Americorps, which has a wide variety of positions throughout the U.S. The position I had last year was a horticulture position. I designed a guide that walks visitors through the gardens with detailed information on invasive plants. My position introduced me to environmental education, something I’m extremely interested in now. I was offered the position of being an education intern this summer, and I happily accepted. In addition, our executive director asked me to be their designer for the summer.

What have you learned that will be valuable when you return to school or go out into your career?

I’ve learned how to really manage and work with clients. I have made the connection with the Garden to actually have the opportunity to use them as the foundation for my BFA project. I’ll be designing some type of exhibit for their new visitor center. Details TBD. I’m excited to see what my collaboration and my senior year have in store!

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Congratulations to CIA Alum, Dexter Davis '90, for being featured on the cover of the CAN Journal Summer 2022 issue! Dexter Davis will be one of the artist featured in our @FrontTriennial 2022 installation this summer! #ClevelandInstituteofArt #FRONTART2022 #CIAAlumniCreate

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