Each year, members are able to meet current scholarship recipients at the CNGA Happy Hour, and we thought it would be a great idea to showcase the past scholarship recipients of the Colorado Horticulture Research & Education Foundation (CHREF). These individuals are working in the industry and we wanted to update you on what they are up to now and how their scholarships and interaction with the industry led them to where they are today. We will focus on one to two individuals per magazine over the next couple editions of the LooseLeaf.
Who better to kick off this series than Mike Kintgen, who came full circle and is giving back to the industry by serving on the CHREF board himself.
I am currently the Curator of Alpine Collections at Denver Botanic Gardens (DBG), where I oversee all aspects of the living alpine plant collection at both the York Street and Mount Goliath sites. I have been with DBG for 15 years now officially. I wanted to work in a public garden since I was very young. My relationship with DBG started through volunteering with my neighbor in the Rock Alpine Garden when I was 11.
This led me to CSU where I completed a bachelor of science degree in landscape horticulture and a minor in Spanish. I was awarded the CHREF (then CNREF) scholarship for two years, which allowed me to focus entirely on my studies without taking out loans, asking my parents for money, or working. The scholarship also put me in direct contact with nursery and green industry professionals through the interview process and industry celebration dinner during ProGreen. Meeting these individuals gave me a leg up in the green industry by being able to put a face with a business. The members of the board have taken a direct interest in my career path, and it has been even more fulfilling to serve now on the CHREF board since 2009.
As a closing note, the CHREF Board of Directors would like to thank those who attended this year’s Golf Tournament in September and for all generous donations received.