Amy June joined the Conservation Team as a Conservation Technician in April of 2022. She brings with her a cumulative 7 years of experience in working in fine woodworking, demolition and remodeling up to finish carpentry in Philadelphia. A luddite with a penchant for fine craftsmanship, she is thrilled to get to experience and work alongside her teammates in some of Philadelphia’s oldest dwellings and support their rehabilitation and reimagined use in truly historically accurate methods and materials.
When she’s not pulling apart buildings and putting them back together, you can find Amy June camping, fishing or enjoying her garden at the Schuylkill Center with her partner. Heirloom/First Foods are a concurrent passion with building and craft, and she stewards many seeds and generates free garden starter kits every spring (if you’d like one, please get in touch!).
Get to know Amy a little better via the Q&A below.
Why do parks matter to you?
I think that in urban areas, green spaces are vital to the communities they serve. Parks can offer shade on a hot day, a safe place for kids to play, an area to gather friends and family, a reason to rest and reflect on the natural world that’s available even amidst one of the largest cities in the US. As someone with a keen interest in native plants, I also see city parks as a chance to rebuild vital habitat that has been lost for native plants, pollinators and animals alike.
What compelled you to join Fairmount Park Conservancy in your new role?
I’ve spent many years in production-focused wood shops and residential demolition/remodel contracting, but this role as a Conservation Technician allows me the time to consider the benefits of repair rather than replacing. This position gives pause to consider how important it is to honor older building materials and techniques and the rich history of the trades and craft work in southeastern Pennsylvania. The Conservation Team respects the craft that has gone into the building trades for hundreds of years, and I think we do a great job of marrying early techniques and materials with more modern ones as well.
Why are parks important to communities?
This harkens back to why parks matter to me; parks are essential! Especially in an ongoing pandemic, green space, gathering space, free space – is perhaps one of the most important assets offered by our city. The limit does not exist where we can center communities that parks serve and keep them safe, free, physically accessible and welcoming to all. Parks are a level playing field for all to enjoy.
What gets you most excited about your role at Fairmount Park Conservancy?
I have incredible guidance on my team as well as the ability to research what the truly best materials and techniques for a given job are, whether that be a practice originating in the 1700’s or using materials developed in the 21st century. I am elated to be doing work that is meaningful as a page in a building’s history, and will hopefully outlive my time on earth.
What’s one thing you’d want to encourage park visitors to do (or not do!) for their parks?
Visit early and often! Each season is so special in Philadelphia and watching the parks move through seasons is one of my favorite things I’ve experienced in 8 years in Philly.
What is your favorite park in Philly?
Cedar Park has to be my most utilized and favorite park. I’ve spent most of my time in Philadelphia within walking distance of it, and have seen such an interesting cross section of neighbors there over the years. It’s a great example of neighborhood self-determination for how best a park can be used for its surrounding community: vending, movie nights, chess games, picnics, photoshoots, the best sledding in West Philly, and so on. There’s never a dull moment. Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park is a close second for the easy access and unbeatable skyline view.
Share something interesting about yourself?
I’ve spent a few years farming vegetables and livestock, and agriculture is a concurrent passion of mine. I still farm on the side and practice seed keeping and hope to grow this practice to include saving more heritage First Foods, especially those of my Eastern Shawnee heritage. If anyone reading this has some specialty seeds they’d like to tell me about, I’m all ears!