Volunteer Spotlight: Dianne Kelso

DianneBy Anthonio Pettit
FOC Executive Director

This month we showcase Palm House Gift Shop volunteer Dianne Kelso.
Dianne has volunteered at the in the Gift Shop for about three years, and started after retiring from the Seattle Department of Planning and Development.
While working for the city, Dianne’s duties included enforcing environmental and tree protection ordinances, but fell in love with plants later in life.
“I wanted to spend my retirement learning a little botany and a little forestry–an interest, not a career.”

Once retired, Dianne started volunteering at the Washington Native Plant Society’s native plant nursery in Magnussen Park and as a forest steward, restoring native plants to the slopes behind St Marks Cathedral.

“During my first December as a retiree I was worried that I wouldn’t be able  to fill the long rainy winter days. One dark afternoon just before Christmas, when I was weary of noisy shoppers and Christmas carols, I went to the Conservatory on a whim. The smell of tropical plants and the warm air was so mellow and rejuvenating. I sat on the bench in the Bromeliad House and just breathed…”

It then occurred that Dianne could enjoy this experience on a regular basis as well as help the Conservatory if she were to volunteer in the Palm House Gift Shop.

“I have enjoyed the breathable air in the Conservatory ever since,and I have learned a great deal about tropical plants from the staff and from all the knowledgeable visitors. There seems to be endless layers of fascinating botanical information available once I got started. Best of all I get to visit the gorgeous exotic plants every week. I am still struggling with learning the Latin names but volunteering in the Conservatory gives me lots of time to absorb the resources around me.”
Come say hello to Dianne in the Gift Shop most Tuesdays between 10 am and 1 pm!
If spending time in the shop sounds like fun, we’re always looking for volunteers! Contact Chrissa Nordquist at giftshop@focvp.org for all the details or click on the link below.

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