Landcare supervisor Doug Lauer is an artist. Rather than using a brush and canvas, he “paints” with trees, turf and flowers. Since high school, Lauer has worked in landscaping and horticulture. He loves taking a rough patch of land and turning it into something beautiful.
His appreciation for landscaping sprouted from a high school tree farm job in Howard Lake, Minn. Lauer had a great boss that became like a second father to him. He eventually managed the business and planned on buying it after college, but the business was sold his senior year of high school.
Lauer went on to get his horticulture degree from the University of Minnesota in 1976, where he met his wife Carol. They got married right after graduation.
After college, Lauer first worked as a U of M extension service agent in Washington County, then spent a few months with Bachman’s before returning to the extension service’s 4-H program.
Hoping for a more stable job, Lauer landed a full-time position at Mendota Heights’ Acacia Park Cemetery. He enjoyed it so much that he spent the next 10 years working there.
“It didn’t look like a cemetery,” remembers Lauer. “It looked like a beautifully maintained park.”
Lauer eventually moved on to become Prudential Insurance’s grounds supervisor in Plymouth, Minn. During his time at Prudential, Lauer developed an appreciation for turf.
“Turf is one of my favorite things,” comments Lauer. “It isn’t just grass, it’s a beautiful part of the landscape.”
After Doug had been with Prudential for several years, Carol saw a U of M Landcare job posting. Lauer had always wanted to work for his alma mater, so he applied for the job got it.
Doug and Carol live in St. Paul and have four grown children (three daughters and one son) and two grandchildren. The couple has enjoyed traveling internationally to visit two of their daughters while one was teaching in China and another was serving in the Peace Corps in Malawi, Africa.
Lauer is particularly proud of the grounds outside the Donhowe Building.
“Years ago, the grounds around Donhowe consisted of a gravel lot,” remembers Lauer. “Now, when you walk up to the building it’s beautiful. There are plantings, the turf is nice and there are three flag poles.”
The University of Minnesota is fortunate to have a talented artist like Doug Lauer providing a campus-wide gallery of outdoor artwork.