My name is Gary Wayne Jentink, this article is to introduce myself to all my new readers, as well as give exciting updates to the old ones.
I have always had an affinity for Botany, I made my first garden when I was six years old by transplanting weeds (Bhromus tectorum and Descurainia Sophia) from the hill behind my backyard to the sod in the front yard, much to my parents disdain. From then on my passion was unquenchable. To help pay for my educational career I joined the US Army in 2011, as an 11C Indirect Infantry Mortarman. In 2012 my unit went on a Deployment to the Hindu Kush Mountain Range in Afghanistan’s Paktika providence where my life would change forever. When I got to the Combat Outpost in the springtime it felt more like being in a fairy-tale than a war zone. There were Monkeys, Parrots, Bears and Snow leopards (We even captured a some kind of Palm Civet in an animal trap), There were numerous flowering plants, of all conceivable colors, covering the cliffs and streams as far as the eye could see. They grew fields watermelons and saffron next to fields of poppy and cannabis. I spent days, maybe weeks on patrol amongst Afghan Pine forests and experienced firsthand how the local people prepare farms and work with the land in near perfect harmony even though there was no electricty or roads in the region. The land was beautiful. Tribal. Ancient. Unfortunately throughout my career, because of the nature of the war, I witnessed the destruction of these very precious habitats as well. Forest fires were specifically destructive in the dry season, as the only way to extinguish the flames was to shoot mortar and artillery rounds into the inferno, like blowing out a giant candle. Walking through those once beautiful areas, and seeing firsthand the destructive power of mankind, It was confirmed in my mind and spirit that i would dedicate the rest of my life to Botanical and Agricultural sciences.
Upon completion of my military service, I immediately got a job as a Groundskeeper at a local Nursery, The Truckee River Rock and Nursery Co, and started to learn as much as I could. Shortly afterwards I began attending Biology and Botany classes at TMCC to further my education and begin prepping for my biggest challenge at the time. My goal was to become an ISA Certified Arborist, but I needed a few more years of experience and education. Through my continued efforts, I achieved an associates of science at TMCC in 2018. In early 2019, I achieved my ISA certification (ISA#12807A) and moved another step closer to my dream. I spent the following year working for John Crandall Tree Care applying agricultural practices in the workplace; engaging in tree climbing, Integrated Pest Management, Tree Risk Assessment, and any agricultural and horticultural practice I could get.
Today I attend the University Of Nevada, Reno. My declared major being Agricultural Engineering, with an emphasis in Plant Sciences. I am the current president of the Reno Nevada Bonsai Club where I host monthly meetings to teach about the art-form. I have designed and run a successful website that teaches about Botany and Arborist work. Recently I have joined Nevada’s Urban Forestry Council, in order to help our community through agriculture. When I graduate I can get employed by a laboratory and start contributing to making new crops the world has never seen before. Perhaps even crops that the Afghan people could use one day.
So here is to 2022! Hopefully its another successful year for people who love all things green! My next post I’m going to talk about my KILLER new job. It involves microscopes, botany, and a ton of new plant adventures.