Jessamine Finch ’12 is a botanist and seed ecologist working in plant conservation. Currently, Jessamine works for Native Plant Trust (Framingham, MA), a plant conservation organization focused on New England’s native plants. At Native Plant Trust, Jessamine serves as a Research Botanist and manages an ex situ seed bank of over 450 rare and endangered plants. Jessamine is also a Visiting Lecturer in the Biology Department at Framingham State University, where she supervises undergraduate research projects. The Botanic Garden of Smith College was central to Jessamine’s college experience and laid the foundation for her career. In her undergraduate honors thesis with Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Jesse Bellemare she investigated range dynamics of understory herbs, which cemented persistent research interests in climate change and plant migration. Multiple positions in collections management under Manger of Living Collections Elaine Chittenden exposed Jessamine to the value of ex situ collections in research, education and conservation. As a public horticulture summer intern, Jessamine absorbed the joys of hands-on plant work from Experiential Learning Specialist Gaby Immerman. Beginning as a work study student at the Botanic Garden of Smith College, Jessamine has been working within public gardens for fifteen years, with positions in horticulture, natural areas, curation, education and research.
Upon graduation, Jessamine completed an internship at Morris Arboretum before completing her PhD in Plant Biology and Conservation at Northwestern University & Chicago Botanic Garden. Her graduate work focused on the seed ecology and population genetics of abundant milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) to inform seed sourcing for monarch habitat creation and predict plant responses to climate change. As a proud Friend of the Botanic Garden since graduating, Jessamine is thrilled to serve on the Friends Leadership Council and give back to a garden that has given her so much.