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Alaina Claeson

Name: Alaina Claeson

Title: Horticulturalist Technician

Division: Facilities & Services

Department:Campus Operations & Maintenance

SBU Tenure 3 Years

List of Sustainability Projects Involved In:

  • University Planting Program
  • Growing Red Days
  • R&D Park Greenhouse


Students, faculty and staff of Stony Brook University are able to stop and smell the roses more often due to the efforts of Alaina Claeson, the University's Horticulturalist. A longtime resident of Long Island, Alaina received an Associate's Degree in Landscape Design and Ornamental Horticulture from SUNY Farmingdale in 2005 and will soon be earning a Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Biology from Empire State College.

Before coming to Stony Brook, Alaina was able take advantage of her passion for horticulture by working for the NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets as a Horticulture Inspector for six years. In November 2011, Alaina came to Stony Brook University and has not looked back since; becoming the head of the R&D Park Greenhouse last year.

In her role at the Greenhouse, Alaina has helped bring healthier and more sustainable planting methods to the University, which also serve to beautify the campus. Recently, Alaina made important improvements to the R&D Park Greenhouse by setting up an organic program that has replaced the use of pesticides and herbicides with the use of organic substitutes, including a vinegar mixture for weeds and a combination of neem oil and nematodes for pests. During the spring 2015 semester, Alaina led a day-long installation of an entire sustainable garden at the traffic circle located at the intersection of Circle Drive and Marburger Drive.

For future improvements, Alaina is currently growing over 200 new sapling trees and shrubs in the Greenhouse's nursery section in the hopes that they will be planted around campus once they mature. Alaina is also planning the addition of a butterfly and bee garden in front of the Center of Excellence in Wireless & Information Technology (CEWIT) building in the Research and Development Park. "We are constantly trying to think of ways to become more organic and sustainable and hope to have a lot more sustainable gardens on campus," said Alaina.

Outside of these projects that improve the natural environment and aesthetics of the University, Alaina also manages the student employees that work and learn in the Greenhouse. While having only been at the University for three and a half years, Alaina has become an integral part of the Stony Brook community. "I absolutely love working at Stony Brook University. Not too many people can say that their favorite hobby is also their job. I love working with the students and just being a part of this community."

Interviewed By: Ryan Wolf

Created by Application Support for Administration
Sustainability @ Stony Brook University