Rosmarie Lohnes: An alumni journey from FES to founder of Helping Nature Heal Inc.

RL-headshotToday, Rosmarie Lohnes is the proud founder and president of Helping Nature Heal Inc., a leading-edge ecological landscaping company based in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, that fosters environmental, economic, and community resilience. Helping Nature Heal creates personalized landscapes that nurture unique beauty, healthy ecology, healing and re-connection with nature. Rosmarie and her team also support local sustainability by donating a portion of staff time, expertise, and profits to community sustainability initiatives. As president, Rosmarie manages an all-star team of scientists, designers, and crew members who can find sustainable solutions for any landscaping challenge.

Rewind fifteen years, Rosmarie was about to graduate from York University’s Bachelor of Arts program, majoring in Conservation and Environmental Studies. She had learned a lot at York: how to study well, how be creative with learning, how see the big picture, and how to take a realist’s perspective on big dreams. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, Rosmarie was itching to get her hands in the dirt and ground her new skills. When she was presented with the opportunity shortly before graduation to intern at Windhorse Farm, a sustainable farming and ecological forestry hub in New Germany, Nova Scotia, Rosmarie decided to embark on the adventure. The experience tested her resilience while building her focus on self-care, her can-do attitude, and her belief that nothing is impossible. The experience also inspired a deep love for the rugged coastal and inland landscapes of Nova Scotia.

After her internship, Rosmarie felt in her heart that she needed to stay in Nova Scotia to pursue her growing passion to help heal human disconnection with nature. She had a dream of one day opening her own business creating landscapes and gardens that reconnect people to nature, and she asked the Universe to point her in the right direction. Before long, opportunities opened up for Rosmarie to take one small gardening jobs for friends and neighbours, which helped her build connections with her new community. She also took a retail job to help make ends meet. Soon, she met her future husband, Greg Lohnes, who supported her in pursuing her passion. As the gardening jobs grew, Rosmarie had to quit her retail job to pursue gardening full-time. She needed staff for her growing business, so Greg decided to quit his job of twenty years and work for Rosmarie instead. Helping Nature Heal was born!

Rosmarie quickly learned that owning a small business is no walk in the park, and hit the ground running, hard. Rosmarie was pursuing her dream, and enthusiastically put all her energy and passion into the business, motivating Greg and a growing team of young staff to do the same. Quite simply, Rosmarie worked round the clock and refused to give up. Fourteen years later, she’s as dedicated and passionate as ever, giving Helping Nature Heal a strong foundation for continuous growth.

Untitled-2Thanks to a decade and a half of hard work and determination, Helping Nature Heal has grown exponentially. The business is pursuing larger and more diverse projects each year, and is building a reputation as a leader in the ecological landscaping field. Helping Nature Heal has become known in Nova Scotia and beyond as a specialist in ecological landscaping methods such as Living Shorelines, forest management plans, trails, community spaces, and edible landscapes.  With greater capacity, the business is also nurturing a new generation of environmental leaders through a growing team of staff.  In recent years, Helping Nature Heal has received numerous recognitions for its outstanding work, including receiving the 2011 Lunenebug/ Queen’s County Small Business Award, the 2014 H.B. Nicholl’s Award for Coastal Zone Management Achievement, and the South Shore Breaker Reader’s Choice Award for ‘Best Landscaper’ in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, Helping Nature Heal was also selected as a national finalist for Earth Day Canada’s Home Town Heroes Small Business Award. Rosmarie is now an in-demand speaker, trainer, and consultant who shares Helping Nature Heal’s ecological landscaping methods at local, regional, national, and international gatherings.

Thanks to her passion, tenacity, dedication, and the foundation she received at York University, Rosmarie has grown Helping Nature Heal Inc. from modest beginnings into the award-winning company it is today. When asked what advice she would like to share with current BES students, Rosmarie states enthusiastically, “Get really sure of what you want, and ask for it”, “ask yourself what you would love to do for the rest of your life”, and “don’t be afraid to dream!”.

Rosmarie Lohnes is president of Helping Nature Heal Inc. in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. To learn more about Helping Nature Heal, please visit helpingnatureheal.com, like our Facebook page, or follow @HNHINC on Twitter. You can also connect directly with Rosmarie at rosmarie@helpingnatureheal.com or 902-543-7416.