Dec 9th, 2014

A Student Pursuing His Dream: Christmas Tree Farming

Ethan Lindsey

Ethan in front of the Children’s Garden Wildlife Tree, which he helped decorate. By Nicki, Youth Programs Developer, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Ethan Lindsey is a youth volunteer who comes with The Founders Center of Commonwealth Autism (formerly Dominion School for Autism) to participate in the Garden’s Vocational Program, a program that offers community youth the opportunity to explore a variety of careers and vocational training. As part of the Vocational Program,  I open dialogues with the students about their career interests and goals.  With Ethan, I discovered he wants to be a Christmas tree farmer — which I think is so fantastic I just had to write an article about it.

Ethan chose this unique career for a combination of reasons; he LOVES Christmas, he likes to work outdoors, and he thinks it’s a job he could actually do (which I agree as well). I can tell how much Ethan loves Christmas because when we got to talking about his tree at home, he was very excited to share that his is “already all lit up and fully decorated!” I asked him what kind of tree it is he replied that they have an artificial one but that he will probably get a real one for his bedroom.

Not only is Ethan a fan of Christmas, he is also an environmentalist. When I asked him what kind of tree he wanted to get for his room he explained, “probably a Fraser Fir because they are native to Virginia. I want to get a local tree because I think it is better for the environment. Non-local trees are shipped far and they can spread pests.”

I am thankful this future Christmas tree farmer will make the effort to be environmentally thoughtful in regards to what kind of tree he would grow and sell. Ethan also explained to me that when you are done with your tree, you can compost it which is also helpful to the environment.


Nicki Apostolow is the Youth Programs Developer at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden where she runs youth volunteer programs, including Service Learning, Summer Programs, Vocational Programs & Internships.

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