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Cultivating Change through Gardening with Jennifer Jewell

Schedule and location

Saturday, May 16, 2020, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Sycamore Room, Visitor Center

Fees and Registration

$16.00 member
$20.00 nonmember
(Fees include admission to the Arboretum)
BY PHONE: 630-719-2468 or to be waitlisted (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) 

Course description

Join us for a conversation with Jennifer Jewell, creator and host of the award-winning public radio show and podcast, Cultivating Place, about women who are creating change in the world through careers in horticulture. In addition to sharing about her new book, The Earth In Her Hands: 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants, Jennifer will be joined by local women in horticulture:

  • Amanda Thomsen, who is shaking up the "old guard" of the horticulture world, breaking all the rules to inspire and educate a new generation of gardeners.
  • Trinity Pierce, who does hands-on outreach to improve Chicagoland's urban forest through her work with the Chicago Region Trees Initiative and has a background in history, ecological restoration, and urban green space reconciliation.

Together, this impressive panel will explore big questions about how growing plants can shape and transform individuals, communities, and the environment.

  • Can transformation in the garden world lead to change in the world at large?
  • Can cultivating our relationship with plants help us take on the environmental, economic, societal, and individual challenges?
  • What can diversity and inclusion bring to the world of gardening?
  • What are the many paths people can take to make a living while cultivating a sustainable, quality life?


About The Earth in Her Hands
Focusing in a wholly unique way on how horticulture intersects with our everyday world and on women whose work has enriched and expanded these intersections in the last 25 years, The Earth in Her Hands: 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants explores and celebrates how the plant world is improved by not only greater representation of women generally but also by diversity amongst those women. It chronicles how working in the world of plants is a more viable and creative career path for women than ever before and how the plant-work world is demonstrating greater social and environmental responsibility, in large part due to women’s contributions. Walking through profiles of women doing current and innovative work in all fields horticultural – botany, environmental science, landscape design and architecture, floriculture, agriculture, social justice, plant seeking and breeding, seed science, gardening, garden writing and garden photography, public garden administration, research, and public policy – we see how they often represent larger issues or shifts in our world. The work of these women illustrates how the many challenges of our world - environmental, economic, cultural/societal, individual - can and are being met through cultivating an interdependence with plants.

These paradigm-shifting women range beautifully across race, ethnicity, socio-economic and religious backgrounds, sexual orientation, and age - in a way that transcends preconceived notions of what horticulture/gardening are and what plant people/gardeners look like. These women and their work have profoundly positive impacts on the larger world - aesthetically, environmentally, culturally, and economically - making them joyful and encouraging role models and inspirations for us all.

Course number



Jennifer Jewell, creator and host of Cultivating Place

Jennifer Jewell is the creator/host of Cultivating Place, an award-winning public radio program & podcast on natural history and the human impulse to garden. Her first book, The Earth In Her Hands, 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants, centering women transforming horticulture around the world, is due out in early 2020 from Timber Press.

Course details

Cultivating Change through Gardening with Jennifer Jewell


This program is offered in partnership with the Chicago Council on Science and Technology. Learn more at C2ST.org.