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New Team Member: Claire Shady

We are very excited to begin 2024 by welcoming a new member to the sales team!

Claire fostered a love of native wildflowers since childhood. She really dove deep into the botany during her first year of college in Northern Arizona. She was fascinated by how plants adapt to extreme environments. This fascination led her down a personal and professional path focused on plant science and the impacts of human influence on our landscapes.

In spring of 2019, Claire moved to Missoula to study at the University of Montana in Missoula (UM.) Her favorite classes included Plant Physiology, Rocky Mountain Flora and Chemistry. She was a member of Cara Nelson's Restoration Ecology lab where she completed a literature review of the use of reference sites in building a reference model. Her capstone project at UM was a research project assessing the role of beaver in ecosystem recovery. The project looked at four restored stretches of river on Nine Mile Creek outside of Missoula. One of the four stretches had naturally been recolonized by beavers living upstream of the restored area. This stretch had improved organic matter and moisture retention in the soil compared to the three beaver-free stretches. The findings proved significant, impacting future restoration design in riparian ecosystems. Claire finished the program and in 2022 with Bachelor's of Science in Ecological Restoration.

In the wake of the pandemic, Claire decided to focus on her growth in the Missoula community and spent her time and energy on working with the public. She is excited to now begin her career in ecological restoration and is grateful to have found the team at Great Bear. Claire will be taking over the Retail Ready program and is excited to build strong relationships with nurseries all over the West. Additionally, she will be stepping into the role of Inventory Manager and is excited to get her hands dirty in the greenhouse.

When not at the nursery, Claire likes to make the most of the glorious summers that Western Montana has to offer by hiking, biking, boating, or simply sitting in the park with a good book. Having spent a few years working on an organic farm, she also revels in celebrating the Montana summer produce bounty by making big dinners for her close friends. During the winter, you can find her sweating through a hot yoga class or curled up on the couch knitting a sweater with her cat, Frankie.

Please join us in welcoming Claire (and by default, Frankie too!) to the team!

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