Idaho Firewise Horticulture Internship, by Michelle Williams

The Southern Idaho Firewise team offers one horticulture internship each year to a candidate invested in learning about demonstration garden management and maintenance, plant species identification, restoration and conservation efforts, and landscaping for increased fire resiliency. Our intern for the 2022 season was Michelle Williams, a horticulture student who spent 100 hours in our demonstration garden space and wrapped up the internship by writing a recap article about the experience.

Idaho Firewise Internship 2022 Take Aways
Written by M. Williams

Last April, I was granted the opportunity to take on an internship with Idaho Firewise. I learned many
things about creating defensible space with plant choices in landscapes around homes. This practice is of personal importance to me as the home my family is building resides in an area with frequent fire
activity. I learned there is more to consider than general plant requirements and tolerances when
choosing the right plant for the right place. There is understanding plant size at maturity when
establishing appropriate spacing. There is considering the invasiveness of the plant or natural tendency
to spread beyond desired plant density. There is knowing the potential of a plant’s flammability when
choosing placement. There are also elevational limitations when it comes to heat tolerance, as well as
drought tolerance. Regular observation and maintenance are a must for firewise landscaping
effectiveness. The Idaho Firewise demonstration garden provides great examples of plants that work for
any landscape within our climactic region. My time was well spent under the combined direction of
Brett Van Paepeghem and Andrea Dorman. In depth discussions during regular maintenance helped me formulate ideas and takeaways that I plan to use not only for my own purposes, but for those whom I will design and consult for in the future. This article will touch on some of the plant choice topics that stood out for me.

To continue reading this article: Idaho Firewise Internship 2022 Take Aways, Continued.

Thank you Michelle for this article and for spending your internship time with Idaho Firewise!