"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
My life story is very closely intertwined with my experiences in and around nature. Everything from the Cub Scouts to Teaching In The Peace Corps in Samoa. Being an Outdoor Education Director at a Youth Camp to building a home for volunteers in Mexico.
My Sister and I (1976)
I have always been fascinated with nature. I was the child who always had tree forts and 'secret trails' through the corn fields behind our house. I was the child who was always very active in the Cub/Boy scouts-going away to summer camp to North Woods of Wisconsin every chance I could. I was the child who would come home with a pail full of salamanders. I was the child who wore "tough skins" jeans and could of probably been on one of their commercials for putting those jeans to the test-dirt stains, dirt biking, climbing trees...etc...
I grew up in Madison, WI and while I was there I had the great fortune to have many teachers who saw the importance of taking children outside for classes and field trips. It was my 4/5th grade teachers, Mrs. Sloup and Mrs. Stamm, who really instilled in me a deep appreciation and love of nature. They regularly took our class to a nearby nature preserve to go bird watching, collecting plants and making drawings of things we observed. It was the highlight of my week and set the course for my life in nature.
Lake Mendota, Madison WI
I traveled with the Boy Scouts to the Rocky Mountains, Canadian Wilderness Canoe Expeditions and many other amazing places. During this time I started to gain more technical knowledge about being an outdoorsman. Edible plants. Compass navigation. Canoeing. First aid.
Plant/Tree Identification. Being in the Boy Scouts gave me a sense of belonging and direction and helped to set the course for my career. The Scouts gave me a solid foundation in Outdoor Skills and and Leadership.
Both sets of Grandparents lived in rural areas in Wisconsin (Osseo and Arena, Wisconsin) where I could easily go fishing in pristine trout streams, walk in the forests, and swimming in large lakes. Wisconsin is an amazing place in many ways-and for the outdoorsman in me it was heaven. Hundreds of lakes, streams, nature trails. Vast expanses of undisturbed land/forests. Rolling hills. Large fields of Corn and other crops...allowing for amazing views of Sunrises/Sunsets. I spent 10 summers in the Northwoods of Wisconsin-doing everything from taking College courses, working as an Outdooor Education Director at Youth Camps, working as a Camp Counselor, motorcycle tours and vacations in Door County.
Father and Grandparents (At their farm In South Central Wisconsin-Arena)
I went to College at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. 1989-94. I earned a Bachelors Degree in Biology and a Minor in Environmental Science. One of the most influential Professors I worked with, Dr. Terry Balding, taught a Ornithology(The study of birds) course. We went on regular outings (leaving at 5am in the morning!) to go bird watching. It was his deep sense of connection with birds and his profound attachment/connection to nature that really inspired me to want to continue on my path in Science/Environmental Education. I learned
the importance of following my own passions and doing what I love.
Chippewa River, Eau Claire WI
I spent the summer after I graduated from College (1994) working as an Integrated Pest Management Scout for Ocean Spray. Scouting the Cranberry Marshes for insect pests, recording numbers and data-that would be used to calculate the most effective time to spray for insects. Seeing the commercial side of agriculture was a real eye opener-challenging at times-yet hugely important in my growth as a scientist and outdoor educator. I purchased my first motorcycle while here and was able to go on some beautiful rides through the Central Wisconsin Area.
I soon joined the Peace Corps. Samoa 1994-96. Position: High School Science Teacher/Community Horticulture Project. Words can not describe what an amazing mind blowing experience this was. It was my first time over seas and it turned out to be one of the most pivotal points in my life. To go to a new place-with a clear palette-with 20 other volunteers-to commit 2 years of my life to service. With out any concern/worry about profit-professional gain-etc. I got to travel to Fiji, Tonga, American Samoa, New Zealand and Hawaii while I was down there.
Meeting people from all over the world-expading my world view and opening my eyes to new ways of being. I wrote for and won a grant to plant, what was at the time the first of its kind, a fruit tree orchard on the campus of the school where I was teaching-Avele College. We planted mangoes, papaya, avocado, exotic citrus fruits, passion fruit and many other trees. In hindsight this was the discovery of what I feel to be my living legacy. The planting of trees for both current generations and generations to come.
I moved to Massachusetts in 1999 to go to Graduate School at University of Massachusets-Amherst. Teacher Training Program. Upon graduating I went on to teach for 5 years in various public schools. I have a dual certification in General Science and SPED. The last 2 years of my public school teaching were in SPED at an Elementary School. I worked in the education field for 9+ years and it was an amazing chapter in my life. It gave me the chance to share all that I had learned and in turn it kept me motivated to stay in the field/keep expanding my knowledge. Teaching is the other part of my living legacy in my business. I make an effort with every client to provide learning opportunities and materials if they are interested. You can consider me your local Landscape Hotline help center. Any question you have about your landscape-call me. If I don't know the answer I will do my best to find it for you.
After some solo adventures in the USA I found my way over Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health located in StockBridge, MA. (www.kripalu.org) In 2000 a friend invited to attend work workshop here shortly after I had moved to Massachusetts and little did I know at the time-that my experiences at Kripalu would turn out to be some of the most pivotal and life changing ones I have ever experienced I volunteered there for 2 sessions during my summer break from Public School Teaching.
I then went on to work at the Healing Arts Desk, at Kripalu, booking massages for guests and later went on took on to lead/teach kayaking, hiking, snow shoeing and biking classes. I got my Massage Certification/License (at Kripalu) and worked as a Massage Therapist for almost 5 years there. This work allowed me the chance to learn how to tune into other people at a deeper level-which in turn helps with improved communication and sensitivity to others needs.
I no longer work at Kripalu. It was there that I learned the importance of self care and respecting the needs of the body. In my line of work this is critical. Landscaping can be hard physical work and anything I can do to help fortify and support my body is a good thing. Working as an outdoor fitness instructor also kept me involved with learning more about the local flora, fauna, geology, soils, and more.
View of The StockBridge Bowl from Kripalu (Stockbridge, MA)
While working at Kripalu I re-realized the importance of being outdoors and that is when I started to take on odd jobs doing various small projects for friends and people in the area. I had an old Subaru and a few hand tools-I Picked up a used push mower and a chain saw that a friend gave me and off I went. I took gardening work shops and classes when ever I could. Posted flyers in every nook and cranny I could find. Joined the Lenox Chamber of Commerce. Networked with existing professionals in the field and I enrolled in the Advanced certificate Program in Horticulture and Landscape Design at Berkshire Botanical Garden and here I am today....traveling to conferences, speaking at various professional gatherings, teaching tree planting at local schools, organizing Arbor Day Events and much more...
Berkshire Botanical Garden
I am am a lifetime student and one way to keep up on best practices/industry trends/safety protocols/etc is by maintaining my Arborist Certification. I love trees and I am very excited about expanding our business in this direction.
You can learn more about ISA by clicking on this image here to your left.
During this whole time period-from college to the present-I made artwork. Making sketches, taking photographs, paintings, ceramics, and many other creative endeavors. I am an artist and I still paint today on a regular basis. I have converted our house into a art gallery of sorts and I have a studio set up here also. Being an entrepreneur and highly driven/motivated can be challenging at times-Making art helps me to relax and to take break from working. Having an artist eye has proved to be an invaluable asset for me in designing landscapes. Color combinations. Texture. Spatial Relationships.
Through this amazing process I have been able to integrate all of my interests/passions into what I do today. A fusion of Art, Science, Nature and Teaching.
(Bucky my "Office Assistant/Public Relations Specialist" He is 11 years old from Dakin Animal Shelter in Western, Massachusetts. We always support animal shelters and encourage others to do so..)
I really thrive on interacting with customers and finding ways to help them create places of sanctuary and beauty where they live. I thrive on teaching workshops and consulting with people on how they can best use their resources. I feel a real sense of satisfaction when I drive around the and see all of the places that I have worked at-and meet all the people that I have helped at the local stores.
So what does this all mean? When you hire me you are enlisting someone who knows and deeply cares about the earth and making it a place of enjoyment and pleasure. While a small company-I believe this makes for a much more personal lasting relationships with clients. I really get to know you and your landscape. Because after all you have invested a lot into your home and I can help you really make it your own by helping to bridge the connection between your home..yourself and your landscape. Many larger commercial companies will take on 5-15 jobs at one time-often speeding through the process and focusing more on quantity rather then quality. Something is lost in that process and I think that its the homeowner who ultimately loses out.
I generally find it best to spend one to two seasons doing maintenance related jobs for clients..before we move ahead with design work. Mowing, pruning, lawn care, etc....to get to know your landscape and how it changes over the seasons..and to develop a stronger working relationship with you....and what your needs are.
My current fascination and inspiration is in something called PermaCulture. Edible Landscapes. This is an exciting trend right now and more and more people are getting into it.
"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system."
Umass-Amherst recently implemented some permaculture landscapes and now colleges all over the US are inquiring about what they are doing..and modeling it on their own campus. Check out this short inspirational video (9 minutes) to see what they are doing.
Click on image below to see video.
For more info about me please visit my LinkedIn Page.
Please feel free to call/text me any time with any questions you may have.
Scott Harrington Landscape and Tree Service, LLC