In Emma Relei’s extensive list of “favorite” plants, one of them is the simple crocus, meaningful for her because of its prominence in a much-loved children’s tale, The Runaway Bunny; another is Ponderosa pine, because “it smells like vanilla!”
Emma’s energy and enthusiasm for all things extends in many directions, including her work with specimens at the Hyde Herbarium. There she helps sort the 23,000+ species, catalogs them on the database, mounts species for filing and makes greeting cards.
“I love how each specimen has a story and a history to unfold, and that I get to be part of it,” she proclaims.
In addition to her volunteer work, Emma is a senior at the University of Washington studying Environmental Science and Resource Management in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. Emma is keen on all of her plant-related classes, especially ones that bring her outside into nature.
“I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest,” she notes, “and although I would like to travel more some day, this is a pretty great place to live and study.”
In addition to her studies, and volunteering at the Herbarium, Relei works in a local nursery, watches “tons” of gardening videos and has a small container garden in her tiny home. She also loves trail running, hiking, camping and kayaking with friends. She also loves to play piano and read historical fiction.
Whew! Do you think she ever sleeps?
As for favorite places, Relei mentions of course, the Hyde Herbarium. But she also loves the Japanese Garden in the Arboretum as it was where she celebrated her 16th birthday, a day she holds fond memories of even today.