Embracing a new role as an aspiring Conservation Horticulturalist in Puerto Rico.

3t Vakil (Miss Tree)
4 min readJul 18

Here in the wilderness of the Puertorican subtropical wet forest, I am acutely aware of the multifaceted nature of my role. Today, as I battled with levels of bureaucracy of some of the Puertorican agencies, yearning to walk away from my desk and into the nursery, I engaged in a reflective exploration, endeavoring to define and delineate the intrinsic motivations that propel my work forward.

In this pursuit, over two decades, amidst the foliage of our project homestead in Patillas, Puerto Rico, I have come to embrace a new role as an aspiring Conservation Horticulturalist.

3t in nursery at Eye On the Rainforest, Puerto Rico

As a discipline, conservation horticulture upholds three clear goals: preventing species extinction, promoting recovery, and restoring threatened environments.

Within the realm of nursery management, I apply my tentative expertise to ensure optimal care and cultivation of plant species under my stewardship. Through recently learned plant propagation techniques, I aim to multiply the numbers of rare and endangered species, contributing to their population growth and genetic diversity. I collaborate with individuals, institutions, and organizations to collect, process, and preserve seeds from endangered plant species. Learning and employing horticultural techniques, I attend to the needs of seeds and cuttings, ensuring their growth. Each act of nurturing is infused with a sense of purpose and commitment to safeguard these extraordinary species from the brink of extinction.

Garcinia portoricensis seedlings, endangered Puertorican endemic species. Photo by 3t Vakil

Sustainable land management practices and habitat restoration initiatives lie at the very core of my work. By implementing strategies that promote responsible land use and minimize environmental impact, I strive to create a harmonious balance between human activities and the preservation of ecosystems. These practices encompass considerations such as water conservation, soil health, and the mitigation of threats posed by invasive species or habitat fragmentation.

3t Vakil (Miss Tree)

Performance Scientist Research Artist -trees, botany, plants, conservation in Puerto Rico