May 7, 2012
It could be said that Horticulture major Julie Bare took the scenic route in arriving at her passion for horticulture.
“I grew up in the suburbs, but gardening and horticulture was never really a family interest. I never considered it as a possible career,” said Bare, 21, of Coatesville who will graduate on May 10 with a Bachelor’s degree in horticulture. “I had taken a documentary filmmaking class at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia when I was still in high school and thought that was where my career would be heading. I actually came to Temple as a film major.”
Discovering that a future in film wasn’t for her, Bare started to explore other opportunities at Temple, landing in a Fundamentals in Horticulture class “just to see what it was all about.”
“It clicked. It simply made sense to me. I decided that this is what I needed to do,” she said. “Now I plan vacations around what garden I want to visit!”
Making the transition to Temple University Ambler, Bare said, made her a bit nervous “because I didn’t know anyone, but I knew if I wanted to get the most out of the horticulture program I had to do it.”
“I came to Ambler in the spring semester of my sophomore year and I just fell in love with the place. It was so much better than I ever could have expected,” she said. “When I got into the program, it was easy to get to know people and the campus became a second home — you go to the bookstore or an office and you’re immediately recognized. It’s especially wonderful to be learning about plants while you’re constantly surrounded by them.”
While at Ambler, Bare has taken every opportunity to expand her horticultural and environmental knowledge as president of the Ambler Campus chapter of Pi Alpha Xi, the national honor society for horticulture majors; as a Directed Studies student assisting on Temple’s award-winning exhibits for the Philadelphia International Flower Show; and as a writer for the Temple Column, the campus student newspaper in which she has written articles on developing terrariums and home composting.
At the 2012 Temple University Ambler Academic Awards and Special Achievement Ceremony, Bare was recognized for her efforts, receiving the Pi Alpha Xi National Honor Society Award, the Barry and Denise Cyphers Scholarship, and the Viola Anders Merit Award “for meritorious service and dedication to the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University Ambler.”
“I’ve worked with Barry and Denise Cyphers at Andalusia for three summers and I felt really honored to receive this recognition,” she said. “Barry Cyphers was teaching Fundamentals of Horticulture when I took the class and we took a trip to Andalusia — I volunteered a few times and was chosen when they were looking for a summer intern. It was a very fortunate and very beneficial experience.”
According to Bare, all of the faculty in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture “are sincerely invested in every student.”
“They are professionals in the field and they are able to share so much knowledge with you. You feel like they are looking out for you and they become fully invested in your success,” she said. “Our professors do an excellent job of exposing us to the field in addition to helping us make important connections within the profession. The horticulture field in this area seems to be a very tight knit group — everyone knows everyone and they are willing to help you.”
Degree in hand, Bare said she’d like to stay at Andalusia, a national historic landmark, while mapping out a future in “plant exploration.”
“I think plant exploration would be an ideal job — finding new plants and new applications for plants in rain forests and hidden locations all over the world. I’d like to work in an herbarium. The Academy of Natural Sciences is internationally known for its herbarium — they have specimens from the Lewis and Clark expedition!” she said. “Environmental Horticulture really opens the doors to a lot of different paths and any number of different places. I think if it’s something that you really love, the opportunities are endless. You have to find what you love and just do it!”