Meet Kristen Marshall Mattson
Education is a primary component of Stetson University's commitment to environmental responsibility. This website serves as an example. Alumna Kristen Marshall Mattson developed the plant profiles during her senior year. Mattson graduated from Stetson University in May of 2005 with a double major in environmental science and Spanish and a minor in biology.
How did you get involved with the project?
I was already involved in the initiation of the native planting program on campus (through the student organization Roots and Shoots), and I heard that the Office of Facilities Management was looking for someone to work on a project for the Stetson University Native Plant Palette, which demonstrates the wide variety of native plants available as a landscaping palette. I got in contact with Dave Rigsby, manager of Facilities Management's Department of Streets and Grounds, and was asked to do the work.
What was your exact role?
I used a variety of sources to research the growth habits, environmental requirements and horticultural uses for all of the plants in the Native Plant Palette. I also formulated the template used for each plant and created a research notebook in which I compiled all of the projects I completed.
How much time did you invest in it?
I put in about 250 total hours of work on the project, working from 20 to 40 hours a month during the 2004-2005 school year.
Were you a work-study student?
Yes. I was hired as a work-study student in the Office of Facilities Management.
Did your native-plant web work also serve as a school project?
I was able to use my work to get independent study credit both semesters, through the Department of Geology. I presented what I had completed on the project for a pass/fail grade.
How did your interest in Florida flora develop?
My interest in native flora developed as I became more involved in the environmental programs on the university's campus and with those who were developing the native planting program. I was involved with the Environmental Responsibility Council, was president of Roots and Shoots and worked on a few research projects involving native Florida plants. Those who worked hard to make the native planting program a reality - Dr. Cindy Bennington, Dr. Eric Perramond, Dr. Robert Sitler and Dave Rigsby (among others) - inspired me to get involved and find out more about the benefits of native plants.
Anything else you'd like to say about Stetson University's commitment to native plants?
Stetson University's commitment to using only native plants in future plantings is an ambitious and exciting goal that I hope will demonstrate to other universities and communities that native plants can be aesthetically pleasing and serve as the foundation for landscaping projects. Using native plants in landscaping projects provides resources for native wildlife, reduces water consumption and fertilizer use because of the adaptation of the plants to Florida's soils and helps maintain a sense of nature in urban landscapes. I hope that the Native Plant Palette project will aid other groups and organizations in choosing native plants for their landscaping projects.
The Stetson University Native Plant Web Team includes:
- Dr. Cindy Bennington, associate professor, Department of Biology
- Dr. Robert Sitler, professor, Modern Languages and Literatures
- David Rigsby, Office of Facilities Management
- Eric Hoffman and Lauren Griffin, Office of Learning Technologies
- Gerri Bauer, Web Services