Christopher Paquette – owner
Christopher Paquette was born and raised in beautiful Burlington, VT. As a young adult, he served seven years in the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG). Upon completion of his military service, Chris began a 15 year career designing and building energy management systems for large national retailers which fueled a passion for energy conservation, and garnered a deep understanding of hydraulics – two very important elements in buildin water features.
One rainy spring day in the late 1980s, Chris noticed that a problem with the roof of his barn “a very large roof at that,” notes Chris. “Every time it rained the runoff washed out a 12-foot high granite cattle turnout wall. That’s when I got the idea,” said Chris. He called a local roofing company and rubber company, ordered scrap rubber and put the rubber in the base of the path of the wall. The next heavy rainfall he realized he’d created a beautiful brook. “That’s when I knew I was on to something,” Chris explains with a warm smile. “I bought every book I could find on the topic of water conservation, aquatics, brooks, streams, and ponds. That’s really how Robin’s Nest LLC got started.” Over the past 15 years, Robin’s Nest LLC has flourished, building hundreds of garden ponds and natural swimming pools here in Maine (a state with over 5,000 natural ponds, lakes and rivers). “We believe our company has evolved out of a growing customer desire,” notes Chris and his wife, Terri, “that desire is changing small backyard water gardens into Natural Swimming pools, also known as ‘water gardens. Instead of displacing habitats with new construction, or with a cookie-cutter swimming pool, you can replace natural habitats and go the ‘au natural’ route,” said Chris. “I have a pretty cool job that keeps me connected to the earth and the creative process, and I enjoy working with clients all over the US and abroad. I keep my water features simple – concentrating on the natural beauty of the elements.”
Chris has been teaching thousands of gardeners and pond enthusiasts about the science of water features through Maine Garden Day, Southern Maine Community College, and various seminars at the Portland Flower Show. “I love teaching conservation to clients, students and children alike. I have a spiritual connection to the surroundings in which I work, and I feel lucky that I get to pass that along to others.” Chris is undoubtedly a visionary, and is no stranger to the lime light. Robin’s Nest Swimming Environments is the 2006 Peoples’ Choice Award Recipient for his exhibit, “The Soul of Deering Oaks” at the Portland Flower Show. They are also the 2008 Beatrix Ferrand Design Award and Peoples’ Choice Award winners for their exhibit, “Dancing in the Moonlight,” also at the Portland Flower Show. Chris and the Robin’s Nest team have been featured in Garden Design Magazine, and People, Places and Plants, and The Maine Sunday Telegram. Chris is also a York County Master Gardener, serving on its Board of Directors from 2007 to 2010. He also serves on the Board of Advisors for Southern Maine Community College (SMCC), an interface between the landscaping industry and the college itself.
Terri Paquette – owner
Terri Paquette, a Connecticut native, moved to Maine as a young girl. After graduating from Lisbon High School, she studied Therapeutic Recreation at the University of Southern Maine. Shortly after, she began working closely with the elderly as an Activities Director at long term care facilities such as 75 State Street, and Truslow Adult Day Center. “My job was to make their therapies fun, and to assist them in reaching their goals no matter how big or how small.” Later, Terri earned a promotion as the Assistant General Manager at the Ground Round Restaurant in South Portland (where she met Christopher). By 1993 they were married, and by 1996 they had their daughter, Autumn Dawn. Shortly after, she and Christopher launched Robin’s Nest Swimming Environments
It’s no surprise that Terri’s background encompasses therapeutic services – she still considers herself a healer today. “These water features healing modality. The negative ions released in the air from the water falls we create are worth their weight in gold – they’re nature’s anti-depressant. Building water features is a labor of love, helping our clients tap into that healing energy makes my heart sing. We’re creating backyard habitat – a healing oasis that encourages our clients to stop, take a moment, and soak in the therapeutic aspects of their surroundings,” said Terri with a large smile. “Plus I get to work with beautiful plants, my family, and our amazing customers that greet us at their front doors with hugs.”
Terri’s energy and warmth is infectious. Her role not only encompasses running the back end of the business (she’s often the first person customers talk to), but she is an accomplished horticulturalist who willingly and excitedly shares her wealth of knowledge. “A big part of my job is in the designing all the finishing touches for the water features we create with plant life. That’s what brings the project together,” notes Terri. And that’s exactly what Terri and her sister, Tammi McEwen (a Robin’s Nest employee for over eight years) do. “We are artists of the earth,” says Terri, “we make sure that ‘WOW’ factor never gets old. In fact, it only gets better and better, and more intense with each passing year.”