Partner Spotlights are conversations with the people who make our work possible.
Occupation: Retired Banker
Connected to Freshwater Land Trust since: 2016
Favorite form of outdoor exercise: Gardening, because it allows artistic talents to be used freely.
If you could be any plant or animal native to Alabama, what would you be? A Red Spotted Salamander, because I would love for people to come the first big rain around January or February and have them stop traffic and watch me do my thing.
Your friend has a day to spend in the Birmingham area. Where would you take them? Botanical Gardens. Turkey Creek. El Barrio for lunch. The Overlook Trail at Ruffner Mountain. Civil Rights Museum. Highlands for dinner.
Girl Scouts, camping trips with her family, and days spent with her grandmother. These are three things that sparked Chris Boles’ appreciation for the outdoors from a young age. As a child, Boles admired her grandmother’s passion for gardening. “My grandmother had a love for being outside, and I wanted to be just like her,” said Boles. When Boles retired, she wanted to become a painter but soon realized her perfectionist tendencies made painting frustrating. After awhile, Boles decided to try gardening instead. Gardening has allowed her to make art more freely.
“The landscape allows you to still create art but without the expectation of perfection,” Boles said. “This lack of perfection is not unnerving, because none of it is your fault; it’s nature at work.”
A retired banker, Boles is now a full-time gardener, environmental advocate, board member at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and a Freshwater Land Trust supporter.
She got involved with the land trust in 2016 after her husband and Freshwater Land Trust conservation director volunteered together at a local church. Through this connection, Boles and her husband learned more about the land trust. They have attended several Sunday hikes as well as May’s Double Oak Celebration.
“Our natural environment is such a critical part of our world,” Boles said. “We have to take care of it.”