You may have first noticed her vibrantly coloured hair or perhaps heard the music coming from her iPhone as she tends to the plants and grounds around campus, but for those who have a chat with Facilities staff member, Melissa Horning, most will know her for her upbeat conversation and shining smile.

“I first started working with plants and landscapes with my brother at a golf course in Calgary. There’s so much to know and learn about the turf and the many ways you need to look after it for the course to remain beautifully green and manicured throughout the season. When my husband and I were looking to purchase a home, we decided to head further south to Lethbridge as this is where he grew up. We purchased a home in Magrath and that’s when I started with the U of L facilities team. Our home is on a big lot with lots of room to be creative with our own land.

“I get to be quite creative in my work on campus too. We grow all the perennials and annuals from seed in the greenhouse at the Parkway Services Complex and that’s always an enjoyable process. Getting learn what works at what time of year and what the deer won’t devour and seeing how all of the colours come together when the flowers are in bloom is very satisfying.

“The arts play quite a big role in my life too. My husband is a musician and I love to paint and sculpt when I can, using my hands and my mind to create is very therapeutic. I gather inspiration for my work from everywhere, including the music that forms the soundtrack to my day. My playlist is never the same. I love to see how people react when they can hear my tunes. I play all types of music genres from jazz to soul to hard rock, my playlist is a mixed bag for sure! I’ve been listening to a lot of 60s Japanese surf rock which is just so much fun. It definitely helps to move the day along with a spring in your step and a smile on your face.

“Seeing the seasons change on campus and being a part of how the campus grounds look is a wonderful way to contribute to the university community, but it’s the people here I enjoy most of all at the U of L. I get to meet so many kind and interesting people every day on my travels around campus. Everyone here is so lovely and you get to have some great hallways conversations, it’s such a wonderful environment to work in.”