Who’s Who: Bonnie Derks, Guest Services Coordinator, New Hanover County Parks & Gardens
Who’s Who: Bonnie Derks, Guest Services Coordinator, New Hanover County Parks & Gardens – Airlie Gardens
Where are you from?
I was born in Houston, Texas. However, I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina.
How did you end up in Wilmington?
I was accepted to UNCW’s graduate school in 2020. I have been in Wilmington for almost three years now.
What is your favorite part about living in the area?
My favorite part of the area is the history. You cannot go anywhere without learning something new about Wilmington.
What are three words that describe you?
Spunky, Creative, Authentic
What is your average workday like?
I spend much of my day helping guests and volunteers with anything they need. This could be membership purchases, ticket sales or volunteer assignments. After everything is taken care of, I love to brainstorm with my colleagues about future programming or events we could do for the community. We have an eclectic group of people here, and it is so fun to work together to create new opportunities for the garden and the community.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
My favorite part of this position is meeting the garden guests. Whether it be locals, vacationers or international visitors, everyone is happy to be at the garden and enjoy our local treasure.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
One of the most difficult parts of the job is making the call to cancel events due to weather. We never like canceling our events, but the safety of our guests is our priority.
What has working at Airlie Gardens done for you?
Airlie Gardens has really allowed me to embrace all of my interests in an incredible way. I can not only enjoy the wonderful landscape of our region, but also work with our community to showcase the vibrance of the place we call home.
Do you have any goals in your job, and what will you do to achieve them?
One of my major goals of this position is to create a more inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome. My background is mostly in nonprofit and public sector work, so I hope to bring in more community partnerships with the community and bring more people to experience Airlie’s charm.
What’s something about the gardens that people might not know?
We are part of the Museum for All program! If you receive SNAP benefits, you can receive free admission to Airlie Gardens just by presenting your EBT card at the front desk!
Fun Facts about Bonnie
Favorite Movie? First Wives Club
Superpower You Wish For? If I had any superpower, I would want to be able to speak and understand any language in the world! I would love to be able to travel anywhere and speak with different people about their lives.
Favorite Song? “Super Trouper” – ABBA
Pet Peeves? Lukewarm coffee
Favorite Quote? “One person’s annoying is another person’s inspiring and heroic.” – Leslie Knope