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Meet Nursery Intern: Tessa Arens

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

Tessa, on the far left, posing with other Nursery Volunteers after a Wednesday workday.

Hello! My name is Tessa Arens and I am a Fall intern at Sutro Stewards. I am currently a senior at the University of San Francisco majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Urban Agriculture. My passion and interests in plants and agriculture began to take off three years ago when by chance I took a class called Environment and Society. That class changed the way I viewed the world and inspired me so much that I became and Environmental Studies major.

The following semester of my freshman year I was put in courses specifically for environmental studies students and immediately knew I was in the right place. I was learning so much about our environment, the systems we live in, and the challenges that our world faces in the shadow of climate change. However, it wasn’t until my sophomore spring semester when I was able to take an urban agriculture course that my interest in plants and agriculture spiked. I remember the feeling of not knowing anything about agriculture, but wanting so badly to know everything.

That summer I was hired to take care of the garden along with a few other students. That year

of working in the garden taught me the general basics of urban farming including seed propagation methods, double digging, crop rotation, pest management, the importance of community, and much more.

Then in January 2019, I had the privilege to study abroad in Costa Rica. There I took two very important classes: Agriculture and Systems Thinking and Tropical Botany: Useful Plants. I had the same amazing professor for both classes and she took us on field trips to many different farms around Costa Rica. On one hand I learned the ecological aspects of farming and on the other, I got to learn about plant morphology. I had never taking any type of Botany course and during my time in that class a whole new world was exposed to me. Besides the laboratory aspects of the course I also gained a deeper understanding and love for plants, their history, what they are and what they do for our earth.

Botany and agriculture are very intertwined. As humans we learn from nature. A vital element to plants and us are seeds. While in Costa Rica I was able to see the importance of seeds and seed saving. Returning to San Francisco, I yearned to learn more. Through interning at Sutro Stewards I have been able to learn not only the ways in which a native plant nursery operates, but also seed and plant propagation methods. I look forward to continuing my internship at Sutro Stewards and continuing to develop seed and plant propagation skills.

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