Celebrating Hilary Nichols, Garden Manager Extraordinaire!

Celebrating Hilary Nichols, Garden Manager Extraordinaire!

Published Thursday, Apr 27, 2017

Dear Friends,
It’s been three months since I first came to SEEDS wearing a pair of red rain boots. At the time of my arrival, the garden and the trees were wet, bare and brown. But when spring started putting on her clothes, I began exploring the garden with Hilary, our garden manager and volunteer coordinator, as my guide.  
She was either by my side or I eavesdropped on her conversations with young people and volunteer groups. I learned the difference between seeds and seedlings and between edible plants and weeds. I learned that chickens cluck every time they lay an egg. I learned they can be friendly as adults if they are handled by us at a young age.
I know I could learn a lot more from Hilary, but a few weeks ago she announced that she will be leaving at the end of this month to work as a horticulturalist at the city’s public gardens. While I am not one for farewells, I am one for celebrating accomplishments.
Hilary has accomplished so much over her five years at SEEDS, between diligently creating an environment to help facilitate the use of the garden as a classroom in collaboration with so many people, to partnering with the City of Durham to get SEEDS certified as a Stormwater STAR Business recently, to name just a few examples.
Hilary devised several ways to capture stormwater in and around SEEDS for use in the garden. This, my friends, is a testimonial to her and SEEDS’ dedication and commitment as a steward of the land and the environment.
“When improperly used,” Hilary explains, “rainwater can become a piece of trash for the city. It goes into the sewer and pollutes rivers with what it carries. But at SEEDS, we want to treat it like the valuable resource that it is, and the city wants that too.”
Under Hilary’s leadership to reduce rainwater pollution and conserve treated water, SEEDS was named one of only eight businesses to receive a Stormwater STAR since the certification program started in 2007. Hilary has consistently worked on conserving all of the resources in our garden through her permaculture mindset.
Our garden wouldn’t be where it is today without her ability to collaborate with, care for and cultivate volunteers, partners and everyone else involved at SEEDS. The sheer force of volunteers involved during Hilary’s five-year tenure is impressive, to say the least. Over 15,000 people, including young participants, have volunteered in multiple roles under her leadership.

Under Hilary’s direction, the garden is transformed.

Please join us in celebrating Hilary this Sunday, April 30 from 9:00am-3:30pm at SEEDS! Come get your hands dirty and volunteer, or simply stop by to hug our favorite horticulturist. We hope to see you there!
With gratitude for all that you have done to help SEEDS grow,
Sarah Shapard
Interim Executive Director