Mt Cuba Center
Mt Cuba Center

Class Acts

Jeff Allenby

Jeff Allenby is the Director of Conservation Technology at the Chesapeake Conservancy where his team focuses on developing new ways to access geospatial data and creating analytic tools that lead to positive management outcomes. He is currently constructing interactive tools to better target Best Management Practices for conservation and restoration projects.

Nancy Bell

Nancy Bell is the Education and Garden Coach Coordinator at Gateway Garden Center in Hockessin. She has Certificates of Merit in Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design from Longwood Gardens.

Eileen Boyle

Eileen Boyle is the Director of Conservation and Research at Mt. Cuba Center. She loves teaching, especially about plants and their relationships with birds and butterflies. Previously, she was the Director of Horticulture at the Philadelphia Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden.

Todd Brethauer

Todd Brethauer is a plant pathologist and science educator at the United States Botanic Garden where he presents lectures on carnivorous plants, orchids, spices, and bromeliads. He was a featured speaker at the 2016 EcoSavvy Gardening Symposium at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA.

Maggie Brock

Maggie Brock is an Education Assistant at Mt. Cuba Center. She earned her master’s degree in museum education and has worked at many non-profits including Grounds For Sculpture.

Julia Byrem

Julia Byrem received her formal training in yoga and Āyurveda at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, and she completed a Meditation Teacher Training with David Nictern in 2013. Julia has found her passion and purpose in teaching yoga, meditation, and Āyurveda, and she believes that a peaceful life is deserved by everyone.

Peg Castorani

Peg Castorani is co-owner of Gateway Garden Center with her husband Steve, and she manages the off-site, custom potting services for the Center. She has been growing “green thumbs” for 30 years. Peg's specialty is water gardens.

George Coombs

George Coombs is the Director of Horticulture at Mt. Cuba Center. Previously he was Manager of Research at the Center in which he trialed cultivars and species of native plants to determine their horticultural and ecological value.

Phyllis D’Amico

Phyllis D’Amico, HTM, is a registered horticultural therapist with the AHTA and has more than 30 years of professional experience. She created an award-winning horticultural therapy program for special needs students at the New Jersey Regional Day School in Newark, NJ. She is also the Program Coordinator for the Certificate in Horticultural Therapy Program at the New York Botanical Garden.

Michael Fahey

Michael Fahey, a co-founder of the Awareness Center in Newark, is in his 45th year as a yoga practitioner. He instructs at FIT in Wilmington, and his classes emphasize the essentials of Iyengar yoga—focused attention on breathing and precise postural alignment—in a supportive and fun atmosphere.

Scott Freedman

Scott Freedman is Mt. Cuba Center’s Grounds and Plant Health Care Specialist. Prior to this he managed a commercial maintenance company, where he oversaw operations, equipment maintenance, scheduling, and purchasing.

Shelby French

As the Propagation Manager at Mt. Cuba Center, Shelby oversees plant propagation, wild collections, and various research projects. She earned a degree in Entrepreneurship from Delaware Technical Community College and is a 2002 graduate of Longwood Gardens’ Professional Gardener Program.

Nichole Gerding

Nichole Gerding owns Thankful Sage Farm School, which specializes in carefully crafted small batch organic soaps and candles using historic methods and, when possible, local ingredients. Nichole developed her heritage skills at Colonial Williamsburg, and she was a finalist in Martha Stewart Living’s “American Made” contest in 2014 and 2015.

Kelly Gill

Kelly Gill is a pollinator conservation specialist with the Xerces Society and a partner biologist with the USDA. She provides technical support to help conserve and protect pollinators and other beneficial insects

Nancy Gregory

Nancy Gregory earned an M.S. in Plant Pathology from Penn State University. She is a University of Delaware Extension Agent and manages the Plant Diagnostic Clinic. Nancy gives presentations and generates fact sheets and newsletters that provide updates on plant diseases for both professionals and homeowners.

Eileen Hazard

Eileen Hazard is the Audience Development Coordinator at Mt. Cuba Center, promoting our mission of ecological gardening and habitat conservation to surrounding communities while overseeing the volunteer program.

Duncan Himmelman

Duncan Himmelman, PhD, is the Education Manager at Mt. Cuba Center. He earned his doctorate in Ornamental Horticulture at Cornell University, taught college for 24 years, and has contributed to a number of horticultural publications. Duncan managed a 20 acre estate in Greenwich, CT and has designed landscapes for both private and public clients in New York City, Toronto, and Chicago.

Scott Kelley

Scott Kelley is the Head Arborist at Mt. Cuba Center. He is an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist® and qualified tree risk assessor.

Renée Kemmerer

Renée Kemmerer is Mt. Cuba Center’s Upper Naturalistic Gardens Horticulturist who continues her lifelong dream of working with native plants and exploring their natural communities. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware.

Mike Leventry

Mike Leventry owns Verdant Plant Health Care, which provides environmentally responsible solutions for landscape and turf health issues. He is an ISA Certified Arborist® and has a degree in plant protection from the University of Delaware.

Jessica Lewis

Jessica Lewis, CPT, CNC, is an accredited T’ai Chi Chih instructor, personal trainer, and nutritional counselor. Sculpt Your Life, her private practice, provides a unique blend of customized exercise routines, solid nutritional advice, and movement-based relaxation principles for a diverse population of clients.

Danilo Maffei

Danilo Maffei, APLD, PCH, is the founding principal of Maffei Landscape Design, LLC, a firm that specializes in creating outdoor places that are meaningful and responsive to the specific conditions in which they are set with an emphasis on sustainable plant selections.

William McAvoy

Bill McAvoy is Delaware’s State Botanist. He extensively studied and published on the flora and habitats of the state. He is the lead author on a comprehensive native plant resource, Flora of Delaware Online Database.

Vic Piatt

Vic Piatt is the Gardens Manager at Mt. Cuba Center and a graduate of Longwood Gardens’ Professional Gardener Program. He has held many positions at Mt. Cuba, including Plant Evaluation Gardener and Rock Outcrop/Scree Gardens Horticulturist.

Stephen Pyne

Steve is a Greenhouse Assistant at Mt. Cuba Center and works in the Victorian Fernery at Morris Arboretum. His current projects include propagating ferns, lycopods, and terrestrial orchids.

Margaret Saylor

Margaret Saylor is the editor/designer of ASBA’s The Botanical Artist journal. She earned a Certificate in Botanical art and Illustration, with distinction, from the NYBG.

Joe Sebastiani

Joe Sebastiani is the Ashland Nature Center Manager for the Delaware Nature Society. He is passionate about birds and wildlife, founded the Ashland Hawk Watch, and edits Delaware eBird, an online checklist program, for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Sara Setzer

Sara Setzer is a fiber artist who specializes in the art of felt work. Inspired by nature, she creates eco-dyed and printed scarves, wraps, and collars using natural materials and leaves.

Nathan Shampine

Nate Shampine, CERP, is Mt. Cuba Center’s Natural Lands Manager responsible for implementing land conservation practices and developing healthy and functional ecosystems. He is a graduate of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and he is also a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner through the Society for Ecological Restoration.

Margaret Shillingford

Margaret Shillingford is the Education Program Specialist at Mt. Cuba Center and a former Docent. She earned a master’s degree in education from Wilmington University and a bachelor’s in Horticulture from Rutgers University.

Chris Starr

Chris Starr is a talented, experienced, and knowledgeable photographer who has had many roles at Mt. Cuba Center. At present, he is an Assistant Horticulturist and Pruning Specialist.

Ian Stewart

Ian Stewart, PhD, was raised in Newcastle, England and received a doctorate in ornithology from the University of Leicester. He has conducted research on tree swallows and bluebirds and how local land management activities are affecting bird numbers and diversity throughout the year. Ian is currently an Ornithologist at the Delaware Nature Society.

Derek Stoner

Derek Stoner is a past president of the Delmarva Ornithological Society, enjoys being out in nature, and is involved in improving land for floral and faunal biodiversity. His photographs and articles have been published in books, regional newspapers, nature magazines, and blogs.

Karen Travers

Karen Travers is a Mt. Cuba Center Docent with an extensive background in teaching plant ecology, leading botany-based field trips, and advising landowners on how to improve ecosystem health with the addition of native plants.

William Trescott

William Trescott is the Arboriculture Manager at Mt. Cuba Center where he has worked for 25 years. He is an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist® and qualified tree risk assessor.

Marcie Weigelt

Marcie Weigelt is the Lower Naturalistic Gardens Horticulturist at Mt. Cuba Center where she develops, maintains, and showcases our exceptional pond landscapes. She is also an experienced and avid moss and fern gardener.

Donna Wiley

Donna Wiley is the Formal Gardens Horticulturist at Mt. Cuba Center. She has a keen eye for color and design with expertise in container gardening and floral arranging.

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