In her role as D.C. Smith Greenhouse manager, Johanna Oosterwyk requires an interesting skill set to succeed.
Not only does she need a deep understanding of plant care and cultivation, but she needs to know a thing or two about plumbing and mechanics—enough to keep the facility’s hoses, water filters, fertilizer injectors and other key pieces of equipment up and running. (For big problems she calls UW’s Physical Plant.)
“I’m a Jill-of-all trades,” explains Oosterwyk, who took the manager position in 2007.
Her primary responsibilities are keeping the plants healthy, supervising the greenhouse staff and consulting with UW faculty and staff on greenhouse space availability and scheduling. Oosterwyk also plans and runs a large number of outreach and extension activities to promote the greenhouse as a destination and resource for instruction in plant sciences. And she teaches classes for the Department of Horticulture—including lectures and labs—on greenhouse production, ornamental plants and other topics.
She credits her dedicated crew of student employees for making a great job even better. They help her water plants, host events and give tours.
“They are my extra eyes and ears in the greenhouse, letting me know when something needs attention,” she says.