Alumni Spotlight: Meet Alex Donka

With more than 800,000 visitors at Fort Williams Park each year, it’s possible that Alex Donka’s gardens are seen by more people than any other gardens in Maine.

As head gardener, Donka is in charge of the many gardens and plants that can be found throughout the 90-acre park in Cape Elizabeth. He started working at Fort Williams in 2016, while he was earning his degree at SMCC.

SMCC gave him the know-how and the assurance to pursue his ambitions in the horticulture field.

“I got a really affordable education and a whole bag of connections at SMCC,” he said on a recent day at the park. “It gave me the confidence to do what I’m doing.”

After high school, Donka studied music at a state university for three years before deciding he wanted to go in a different direction for a career. He liked science, and liked to see plants grow, so he enrolled in SMCC’s Horticulture program. He was impressed with the hands-on approach and the close relationships the professors had with local businesses for job opportunities.

In time, Donka hopes to continue his education, perhaps in the field of environmental science so he can get into the ecological side of plants.

For now, you’ll find him from early spring through late fall at Fort Williams Park, tending to the gardens by Portland Head Light, along the Cliff Walk pathway, and in the Children’s Garden. He’s thankful for his time at SMCC, and he recently gave a tour of the Children’s Garden to a class of SMCC students.

“I think I found SMCC’s horticulture program at the right time. It was perfect.”