Staff profiles: Daedre Craig
As an undergraduate, Daedre Craig was originally focused on zoology. When doing a study on lizards in the rainforest, she became frustrated trying to catch the organisms she needed to study, so she started to rethink her field of study. When contemplating all of the different types of specimens to study, one group comes out on top in terms of being stationary: plants.
Thus began Craig’s career in botany. Another bonus to this field was her love of gardening, something she has been overjoyed to incorporate into her career. She comes to work every day loving what she does, something many people can’t say.
As the annual trial garden manager at the Horticulture Demonstration Gardens, Craig’s main responsibility is to manage and carry out the trials in the gardens.
The gardens’ purpose is to figure out in which environment new varieties of plants flourish. Before they release them to the public, companies that breed plants send their new variations to MSU to see if they can survive in a Michigan climate, as opposed to the climate in California or Texas. Then, gardeners plant the plants, study them, collect data and send the information back to the companies.
What people don’t know is the effort that goes behind planting all the flowers and plants. In just one of the gardens alone, there are 30,000 annuals planted. The Horticulture Demonstration Gardens include a children’s garden, an arboretum, vegetable garden and perennial gardens, so the numbers are astounding. Craig credits all the gardens’ volunteers, many of whom are master gardeners, with helping them accomplish the job.
Despite this incredible task, Craig has a great love for MSU. Her favorite part? “I like that it’s focused on research,” Craig said. “There’s a lot of great research coming out of MSU, including a lot of great agricultural research. I think that’s really important. I’m glad that we’re a part of that system, of coming up with new crop yields and things like that. If you mean a physical part of MSU, I really, really like the dairy store!”
This goes to show, regardless of the task you’re at MSU to accomplish, whether it be getting a degree or planting 30,000 annuals a year, everyone can relate to the love of the dairy store