Hi, my name is Devan Arnold, and I am the owner and manager of Sassafras Land Care LLC, an ecological landscaping company that specializes in working with native New England perennial species and other hardy perennials to create more ecologically functional landscapes while enhancing the human experience and connection to those lands.
I am a third generation Great Barringtonite, and grew up on the backside of Monument Mountain in Housatonic, and as a kid I spent countless hours exploring the woods behind my house. In those woods I developed a great passion for the plants that made those woods feel so special. I got started on the horticultural path pretty early on. When I was 15 I got involved with the Monument Mountain greenhouse program, which led to multiple internships with the Berkshire Botanical Gardens, and two seasons as a regular member of the horticultural staff.
I departed New England for the deserts of the southwest to get my bachelors in Agroecology from Prescott College in Arizona, where i also began studying permaculture and received my PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate).
After Prescott, I returned to the Berkshires to work with Project Native as part of the nursery staff. I spent about five seasons working with them until I left to start my own company in 2015. It was also at around this time that I became a member of the Great Barrington Agricultural Commission.
As the owner/manager of Sassafras I spent two seasons working with a dozen or so property owners. I wanted to have a greater impact on the landscapes I was working with, and so after two seasons, I put the business on hold and went back to school to pursue a masters of science in ecological design and planning from the Conway School of Landscape Design. The Conway program is project based, and through the course of my education there I worked on designing a sustainable homestead site for a couple in Plainfield, MA, I collaborated with two other students for an Open Space and Recreation Plan Update for the town of Pembroke in Eastern MA, and also worked to put together an updated master plan for Woven Roots farm in Tyringham MA. After returning to the Berkshires after graduation in 2017, I reestablished my company and set out to help people, to help the land, and to help bring those two together.
Sassafras Land Care is firmly rooted in its deep passion for the local landscape, and in the vision of a day when everyone turns their backs on the monoculture turf lawn, and embraces a rich and diverse tapestry of interconnected, layered species that provide beauty, function and joy.