Name: Andrea Petterson
Title: Landscape Manager
Division: Facilities & Services
Department: Campus Operations & Maintenance
SBU Tenure: 3 1/2 years
List of Sustainability Projects:
- SBU Planting Program
- R&D Park Greenhouse
- Stony Brook Composting
Tucked away in the woods behind the Center of Excellence in Wireless & Information Technology is the R&D Park Greenhouse, which is managed by Andrea Petterson, Landscape Manager, as part of Stony Brook University's sustainability program. The first thing that you will notice upon arrival to the Greenhouse is the lush colors of all the different perennials and annuals grown here. A sweet earthy scent floats through the air tantalizing the nostrils causing gentle euphoria of the senses. This is Ann's second home and her enthusiasm for her work electrifies the place.
Ann began her career 12 years ago working at an open-air greenhouse where she acquired valuable knowledge on constructing, maintaining and operating greenhouses from the ground up. These important skills would eventually become indispensable in her current job at Stony Brook University. After a year in the open-air greenhouse, she transferred to the North Shore Garden and managed the plant nursery and ran a planting program for grade school students. In 2009, Ann received her certification as an Arborist while working for Save-A-Tree and soon after she was hired by Stony Brook University as a Horticulturalist and later promoted to Landscape Manager.
As the Landscape Manager, Ann and her team are responsible for all the trees, flowers, perennials, saplings and bushes that are planted in various locations at the University. She also coordinates related activities with the landscape contractors to maintain the growth of native plant species and replant trees damaged during severe storms around the University. Managing the University planting effort is more than a full-time job, requiring work on weekends and early mornings. In her daily operation of the Greenhouse, Ann orders, plants and grows plants that will one day thrive on many of Stony Brook University's campuses. She meticulously prunes and waters the plants until they mature for transplanting and in order to save resources, Ann has begun saving seeds and cuttings to propagate more plants; reducing the need to purchase seeds from vendors. Her favorite flower is Lavender for its unique silvery foliage and medicinal properties. Lavender is a sturdy and strong plant able to survive under most conditions.
Ann appreciates the work she does describing it as a lifelong passion. "I have an incredible opportunity," says Petterson. "I get to combine what I love with my career and share that with others. If my flowers brighten up someone's day then I know I've made a difference."
On May 24, 2013 Ann's tireless effort will be on full display in front of 2,600 graduating seniors and their families. The flowers will be used to decorate the stadium for the 53rd annual convocation ceremony. "I'll be sad to see my flowers go but I'm glad they will get to make everyone else happy," said Petterson.
Ann has been a vital part of beautifying the campus in a productive manner. Her plants provide aesthetic beauty and an ecological habitat for small birds and animals to coexist in harmony on this campus. The Office of Sustainability hopes to coordinate with Ann on future initiatives to get students involved with SBU's planting program.
By Sakib Ahmed