Elsa Leistikow is a Junior at The College of New Jersey. She is majoring in Sociology and minoring in Public Policy. Elsa is studying in New Zealand and was awarded the CISabroad Green scholarship. Read about her experience volunteering at a Botanical Garden.
The volunteer work I did at Wellington Botanical Gardens was so interesting; it was a fun intellectual challenge. I have a new respect for gardeners and for different styles of learning and thinking. The work reminded me of the theory of multiple intelligences – the idea that in addition to the verbal-liguistic and logical-mathmatical thinking styles upon which our society places heavy value, there are other styles of thinking and learning, like thinking spatially or rhythmically, for instance. This morning at the Wellington Botanical Gardens, it was fun to think in a different style than usual – spatially – and to work with people who were skilled in this different style. It was a fun intellectual challenge and a reminder of my appreciation for differences.
Over the course of a morning, two full-time employees, two volunteers and I worked on implementing a flower plot design. We were presented with a drawing for the plans for that flower bed: a pink background with two interlocking D’s. From there, we had to take that 2 dimensional picture and think spatially about how we would create it. It was such a cool exercise to think in this way, translating from 2D to 3D! We had to consider the overall size of the flower bed; where would the center of the design be? The interlocking parts? We thought about how width might communicate depth; having three rows of purple flowers in this section might communicate that it was overlapping the pink flowers it bordered.