College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

Julia Thomé: Intern at Chevy Chase Club

Kelsie Birney
Image Credit: 
Ken Ingram

Julia Thomé, a student at the University of Maryland’s Institute of Applied Agriculture, plans to graduate in May with a certificate in General Ornamental Horticulture. To do so, she must complete a 320-hour internship, which she did in the garden and grounds department at the Chevy Chase Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland. For 12 weeks over the summer, Thomé applied her classroom knowledge of plants to her intern responsibilities which included planting, watering, weeding, dead heading, mowing, and answering club members’ plant-related questions.

Thomé worked as part of the nine-member crew that keeps the landscape perfect, including a rose garden, parterre, long boarder, and native garden. In addition, she inventoried donated trees and trees members felt were important. She collected basic information: height, diameter, crown width, tree condition, photo, and GPS coordinates.  As an unplanned bonus during her internship, Thomé taught four- and five-year children about plants and nature for an hour every week for several weeks.

What she enjoyed the most about working at the Club was the exposure to everything from budgeting to IPM to garden design.  Garden and Grounds Manager, Michael Gildea praised Thomé, “Julia exceeded my expectations in every way. I enjoyed talking with Julia about our department’s goals and our mission. Through these conversations I was able to refine our goals for each of our garden areas.”

Thomé chose Chevy Chase because she wanted a greater understanding of horticulture and the theory behind the practice.  At 45 years old, Thomé is a non-traditional student looking for ways to combine community development and horticulture. “I was really impressed by the quality, diversity, and beauty of the gardens at the Chevy Chase Club. The experience confirmed my interest in horticulture and provided practical experience that I will carry with me in my future endeavors,” she said.

Thomé did more than simply complete her 320-hour internship; she made a real contribution to the club.  Gildea added, “Overall, Julia is an intelligent and organized person who through her effort made the Chevy Chase Club a better place and made me a better manager.” 

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