The grass is greener on this side
MRU hires greenhouse technician to share his love for plants
By Rayane Sabbagh, Contributor
Barry Moench, Mount Royal University’s Greenhouse technician, stands among foliage, flowers, various succulents and cacti. “This has pretty much been my life’s work,” he says.
Moench’s passion for plants started when he fell in love. “I’m going to be very blunt with you,” he said while staring at his lap and laughing. “I met the lady who became my future wife, I fell madly in love with her, and made the move.”
At his cousin’s high school graduation he met Sandra Moench, the woman that would soon bring him to Calgary to start his life-long career in plants.
“I fell in love, I met her and that was it. That’s all I could think about for the next six months. I couldn’t function or work. I didn’t want to be up there. I wanted to be here, she was going to university in Calgary for four years, and that tells me I have to get to Calgary.”
Moench was working in Northern B.C. at a gas exploration company called Gemini Drilling, where he drilled holes in the ground to fill them up with dynamite and then monitor the waves. This was one of the jobs he got right after high school, amongst others. “I pretty much had enough of that,” he says.
So, he decided to move to Calgary in order to be with the love of his life. But he had to choose a career path and had no specific skillset under his belt. “I didn’t know anything about anything regarding plants,” Moench says.
But Moench didn’t want to be stuck working in an office, or outside in the crazy Calgary weather. He was at a crossroads when a bell went off in his head and he realized that he could get the best of both worlds by working in a greenhouse. So that’s exactly what he did.
In order to take the next steps to becoming a botanist, Moench looked into schooling. To be accepted into school for botany, fourteen thousand practicum hours must be put in beforehand. To complete this requirement, Moench got his first job working at Mountain View Nursery and Greenhouses in Calgary.
During this practicum, he had a realization. “My head grower and I were moving plants, […] she said to me just straight faced ‘you’ve got the touch, don’t waste this.’” It was then that Moench realized he had a true knack for caring for plants. Since that moment, he has been dedicated to studying and helping the plants around him thrive.
Moench was hired February 2016 to put Mount Royal’s greenhouse back together. “The job initially was only 12-15 weeks” Monech explains. “My main goal is to keep the place full, keep it clean, and keep a diverse amount of plants thriving.”
A year later, he is still here at Mount Royal’s greenhouse, thriving with his plants.
If you are interested in getting involved with the greenhouse on MRU’s third floor, email Barry Moench at email@example.com.