We welcome Gabrielle Stannus as a new IPA sub-committee member. Here, Gabrielle tells us a little about herself and her reasons for getting involved…
I am a relative newcomer to the Interior Plantscape Association, having joined after volunteering at the conference in Melbourne in March. Some of you may remember me feeling slightly embarrassed to be personally thanked by Kathy Fediw on stage as she gave her welcome speech. Elaine Tunn, IPA Executive Officer, approached me after the conference to write a blog on the benefits of indoor plants. “No worries” I said, thinking it a nice discrete one-off task I could complete quite easily.
However, when Elaine then approached me to join one of IPA’s sub-committees recently, I was a little more hesitant. Like many of you, I was juggling work, study and parenting. I was finishing the final semester of my Master of Urban Horticulture program at the University of Melbourne. You might say “I had a bit on my plate”. How much time did they want from me? And what could I offer as a “newbie” to the world of indoor plants?
As a former Sustainability Officer at the City of Melbourne, I was responsible for designing, delivering and evaluating community environment programs and events in that municipality. During my time there, I initiated one of that organisation’s first Facebook and Twitter accounts, using social media to engage with city residents, businesses and visitors more intimately on environmental issues of concern to them. And I enjoy researching and writing about plants. So in the end, it was a bit of a no-brainer to me. So say hello to your new “Facebook /Instagram entries” and “Articles/ Blogs” sub-committees member! Yes, I ended up joining not one, but two sub-committees!
A little more about me …
After working on environmental sustainability programs in local government for almost a decade, I shifted careers. In 2013, I started a Master of Urban Horticulture, thereby following my passion for greening our cities into a new area, horticulture! At the end of my Masters, I conducted a short research project on “Leaf trait plasticity of common indoor green wall species in response to light”. I have also obtained a Bachelor of Social Science (Environment) with Distinction from RMIT University, and a Diploma of Conservation & Land Management from NMIT (now Melbourne Polytechnic). Over the last couple of years, I have combined part-time work with my Masters study, gaining a variety of horticultural and design experience. I have maintained residential gardens in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, and roof-top gardens and indoor plantings in the CBD. You could say I am not afraid of getting my hands dirty! In May, I completed an internship with one of Australia’s leading green roof and wall companies as part of my Masters course. There I maintained indoor and outdoor green walls and facades. I also got the chance to work in that business’ nursery; where over 800 species are grown, many for use in interior plantscapes. I am currently working in a retail nursery, where my favourite tasks are those that allow me to work in the indoor plant and fern sections.
A French connection
With my research project over and uni finished, I am about to take a well-earned break. I will be holidaying in France and northern Italy for two months with my French architect partner. I will be meeting members of IPA’s French equivalent organisation via the European Interior Landscape Organisation. I hope to visit some inspiring French interior plantscapes and to share latest trends with you. So stay tuned for news of my trip. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favour and like us on Facebook to stay in touch. Upon my return to Australia, I will be looking out for some fresh stories to share with you.
Considering volunteering for IPA?
Maybe you’ve been thinking about getting more involved in IPA, but you aren’t sure how much time you can spare? Rather than commit yourself to an ongoing role as a subcommittee member, you may like to take on a small project-based task to start off with. We have all sorts of interesting work with definite start and end points, e.g. compiling an annual calendar of events, developing and delivering workshops and so on. Volunteering provides you with an opportunity to network with and learn from other IPA members, whilst helping IPA to continue meeting the needs of our members.
Interested? Speak to Elaine Tunn on 0452 590 255 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can get involved.