Gardner grew up in the Episcopal Church from his birth in Virginia, and sang in the Boys Choir as well as serving as an acolyte. He spent many years sailing the lower Chesapeake Bay with his family and later helped start the Norfolk School of Boatbuilding, where he served as Assistant Director & Instructor. He studied forestry at Sewanee (University of the South) and eventually moved to Oregon, where he continued to build musical instruments, large sailing vessels, and remodeled homes.
He pioneered the sustainable forestry sector in the early 1980’s when there were only two other companies in the world in this field; harvesting, shipping, and marketing sustainable lumber products from various Central American countries, as well as domestic timber products. This was long before it was a popular concept, and he travelled around the country speaking about his project and giving presentations to some of the largest architectural firms in the world – on the real issues concerning sustainable tropical timber use. Early clients included Bill Gates, Olivia Newton-John, Sony Pictures Studios, and several universities. Gardner has considerable experience working in the building trades for over 30 years.
Arrival at Trinity:
April 2012, after 12 years as Head Sexton at First Unitarian Church of Portland
Gardner lives on a 40’ sailboat, which he is converting to an all-electric vessel with solar and wind power collectors! He hopes to sail the Seven Seas in the near future and assist small island communities.