Photo by Robert Manduca '10.

he color of the leaves, contrasted especially to the bit of blue sky you can see, is really striking in this photo. More importantly, this picture makes me laugh. During the fall when the leaves start turning colors, one of my jobs is to go and collect leaves in preparation for Arbor Day. We have a face mask station, and instead of beads or glitter or other decorations, we provide different colored leaves. So, for a couple of days in the fall, I amble around campus in search of the most vibrantly colored and interestingly shaped leaves. It's quite a site -- by that point it's usually chilly, and friends have commented on seeing me wrapped up in my jacket with a large paper bag, continuously stopping and bending over to pick up some leaves. After I collect them all, I go back to the Arboretum and put them all in a paper press, to dry them out and preserve their color. Once we're in spring, I then get to open up the paper press, which by then has been sitting in the 'dark room' (or closet) for several months and empty it out, stacking the leaves in preparation for the kids to make their masks. It may sound like a weird job, but it's a whole lot of fun!

"My photos also highlight what I think is the best part about working at the Arboretum: I always have the opportunity to do spontaneous things. One day I'll be filing papers and preparing for a workshop, and the next day I'll get to go traipse around campus and pick up leaves, or scan slides into the computer at Beardsley, or play roll call with holly trees. There is so much flexibility and variety in what I do. Plus, the work I do at the Arboretum provides me with a great way to relax (and yes, procrastinate). Most importantly, the people I work with make it that much more fun. I absolutely love my boss, as well as her co-workers, and the Arboretum assistants. No matter what the job is, I always feel very comfortable, supported, and encouraged by everyone. It's a great and welcoming work environment that, for me, helps to balance the stimulating but sometimes stressful academic life at Swat."

Reina Chano '09
History and peace & conflict studies
Educational programs asst.
Tokyo, Japan