With New Opportunities Comes Great Knowledge by Fallon Ross

After almost five months of working as a Resource Assistant at Bessey Nursery, I am quickly realizing there is no typical day here on the sandhills. During this summer, the weather has remained fairly hot and with long hours of sunlight. This has made it quite difficult to maintain a consistent watering schedule throughout the seven greenhouses and three shade frames. Therefore, we must observe and utilize best judgment ensuring every container receives an adequate amount of water and nutrients to sustain healthy growing conditions for the seedlings.

Everyday, watering takes priority however, other projects such as; transplanting, weeding, and  maintenance work may rearrange the agenda. Prior to working, I had the notion that watering was a simple task. Despite my supervisor assuring me, new employees take approximately three years to fully understand the water requirements here. A few mistakes and water crises later, it became evident that resilience and strong intuition is essential for water management.

Investigative research plays a key role when managing the nursery. We monitor for diseases, funguses, drought stress, pests/insect infestations and other concerns that threatens the health of the seedlings. By observing the plants, the team is able to promptly rectify the situation or prevent further complications. There are additional minor affairs that may impede the functionality of every greenhouse, shade frame, and field. Many of the greenhouses were erected considerable years apart .

The help from my supervisors along with several coworkers has facilitated my professional growth and development at the nursery. Most of my assignments involves working independently. Whereas, during planting, lift & pack, transplanting, weeding, and working in the bareroot fields we work as a team.

This experience has shifted my perspective from a research lab technician to a labor intensive position in an unfamiliar area and field. Thomas county is a remote location with limited grocery stores and gas stations. According to the nursery manager, the cows in the greenish sand hill pastures out number the residents. Relocating is challenging, especially if the new environment is significantly different from the last. Fortunately, with new opportunities comes great knowledge. I’ve had the pleasure to learn about the historical background, culture and outdoor activities central Nebraska has to offer.

The sandhills of Nebraska is incandescent and I am not referring to wildfires burning thousands of acres every year. Maybe it’s the stargazing in the midst of the night or the tubing down the massive Niobrara river. It could be the long nature hikes throughout the hand planted forests or the scenic views traveling down Highway 2. Ultimately, Nebraska is full of wonders waiting to be explored.

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