This month we are introducing a new agent in Fulton County. After many years of professional experience in the private sector in Landscape Design and Maintenance Abra Lee comes to Fulton County as an ANR Agent.
An Atlanta native, Abra is an Auburn graduate with a degree in Horticulture. One beautiful, sunny day in Auburn Abra saw students outside under the trees with clipboards looking up at the trees. She wondered, “Who are these students and what are they doing outside?” That type of class was much to her liking and Horticulture became her major. Abra had spent many hours outside during her childhood with her dad as he was the Director of Parks for the City of Atlanta and weekends at the family farm. Spending time outside and in nature is part of ‘who she is’ and continues to influence her professional choices.
Prior to joining Extension Abra worked with Post Properties, Russell landscape group in Dacula, with the City of Atlanta as an arborist, and as the Landscape Manager for both Hartsfield/Jackson Airport and George Bush International Airport in Houston. Her love of design and color are clear in the landscape projects she engaged. But a change was needed for her to experience four seasons again and a move back to Atlanta ensued. Extension was of interest to Abra as she had worked extensively with the Atlanta Metro county agents while working in the Atlanta area. Gary Pfeiffer (DeKalb County), Tim Daly (Gwinnett County), and Linwood Blackwood (Fulton County) were advisors during those years and positively influenced her opinion of the Cooperative Extension Service and its impact on the community.
Abra has been on the job just two months and already she finds the energy of those with more years’ experience and their knowledge so full and readily shared. “Learning from Seniors is a lot of fun!” She is also challenged by the variety of questions asked by citizens that stretch her knowledge and require research. Being ‘out of her comfort zone’ is a good feeling and keeps her brain muscles moving.
A recent interest in nutrition and its influence on longevity and health of both the individual how this influences our society has pushed Abra to learn more. Learning about the history and origin of individual garden components – both the plant and the decoration – are reflections of the melting pot of American society. Okra and yams from Africa; cabbage from Northern Europe; rosemary from the Mediterranean; corn and beans from native America are a few examples of how our gardens reflect our cultural heritage and diversity.
Abra defines success as individuals who currently sit on the sidelines becoming interested and involved in community gardens and educating others about gardens, landscape, & design. She’s looking forward to the uniting of the ideas of the historical/prosperous gardens in Atlanta with the infant/poorly funded community gardens. This union will prosper all Atlanta gardens and create a stronger garden culture throughout the city.
Outside of work Abra’s love of design & color influences her choice of activities. She takes fashion classes and watches old movies to observe wardrobe style & color as well as the movement and speech of the actors. Dorothy Dandridge, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, & Sophia Loren are some of subjects of her interest. But more so is the famous Hollywood wardrobe icon Edith Head and her work of matching color & design to fit not only the theme of the movie but to highlight the actor. Numerous Academy Awards are a testament to her work. Nutrition and exercise (free weights, spinning, rock climbing) as well as international travel bring energy & vitality to Abra’s life.