When Flagship partnered with Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) in 2020, the team was challenged with further developing the airport’s horticulture program to improve air quality, promote sustainability, and ultimately, increase customer satisfaction.
This initiative was led by Leslee Peterson – a certifiable plant enthusiast and invaluable asset to the Flagship team. Leslee and her assistants now care for over 1,000 indoor plants, including a variety of pines, lilies, palms, and ferns. In fact, SLC is home to 13 of the 18 plants featured on NASA’s list of best air-filtering plants. Some of the plants stand taller than 10 feet and are more than 15 years old.
A graduate of the University of Washington, Leslee is responsible for sourcing plant materials, grooming and dusting plants, checking plants for disease, and managing pests. Watering alone requires an astounding 65 hours a week.
“When I’m on the floor watering, I have five to 10 passengers coming up to me on a daily basis. They ask questions, even take pictures of me working,” said Leslee. “And they thank me, because the plants mean a lot to them.”
SLC’s horticulture program plays an enormous role in helping passengers feel at ease as they face the inevitable stresses associated with travel. Research shows that spending even a short amount of time in nature improves mental health and sharpens cognition.
Thanks to Leslee, SLC passengers and employees can enjoy all the beauty and tranquility that plants have to offer.