Mt Cuba Center
Mt Cuba Center

Class Acts

Lee Armillei

Lee Armillei, APLD, is the principal landscape designer with Athyrium Design and has 10+ years of design-build- maintenance experience. She holds a BS in Ornamental Horticulture and Environmental Design from Delaware Valley University and designs carefully curated residential landscapes steeped in environmentally friendly practices.

Sue Bara

Sue Bara is an experienced herbalist with a special interest in native plant use and ethnobotany. She is also a teacher-naturalist and habitat steward with the Delaware Nature Society.

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.

Daryl Beyers

Daryl Beyers has more than 25 years of professional horticultural experience and is the Coordinator of the Certificate Program in Gardening at the New York Botanical Garden. He has been a staff writer, photographer, and editor for Fine Gardening magazine and has published articles on gardening in Horticulture and HGTV Magazine.

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.

Leah Brooks

Leah Brooks is Mt. Cuba Center’s Public Programs Assistant. She is a University of Delaware graduate with dual bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Science and Wildlife Ecology. Her passion is sharing the joy of nature and native gardening with others.

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.

Raymond Carter

Raymond Carter is a 2019 graduate of Longwood Gardens’ Professional Gardener Program. Currently, he is an Assistant Horticulturist at Mt. Cuba Center, working in the Ponds and along the Main Drive.

Michele Christiano

Michele Christiano is currently a gardener at a private estate. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from West Chester University and a Certificate of Merit in Ornamental Plants at Longwood Gardens. She has worked in public gardens for most of her career, including Winterthur and Longwood 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.

Bill Cullina

Bill Cullina is the F. Otto Haas Executive Director of the Morris Arboretum. He is a well-known author, lecturer, and authority on North American native plants. His books include Wildflowers; Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines; Native Ferns, Mosses, and Grasses; and Understanding Perennials.

Lucy Dinsmore

Lucy Dinsmore is a horticulturist and certified arborist who loves learning and teaching about all things growing. She worked in public gardens for ten years, at the Morris Arboretum and Chanticleer Gardens, and now runs Plant Lady Lucy, a garden design and consulting business in Kennett Square. Her first job as a young tween was at a garden center, and she later earned her master’s degree in horticulture from the University of Minnesota.

Madeline Dobbs

Madeline Dobbs is the founder of the More BV Homes Team at Century 21 Emerald. She is the author of How to Sell Your House in 30 Days, a course that educates sellers on how to prepare their homes to appeal to today’s buyers.

Tracey Eltringham

Tracey Eltringham stepped onto the yoga mat over 12 years ago; and knew that this system of self-care was going to be an important key in helping her to find her way “home”. She strives to help yoga feel approachable to all she encounters with an energy that is encouraging, authentic, and has a hint of playfulness as she inspires you on your own journey.

Julia Eppes

Julia Eppes is an Assistant Horticulturist working in the Formal Gardens at Mt. Cuba Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in Landscape Horticulture from the University of Delaware. She formerly interned at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library and worked at Gateway Garden Center.

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.

Caroline Fazzini

Caroline Fazzini is the Assistant Manager of Interpretation at Mt. Cuba Center, where she develops a variety of public programs meant to inspire an appreciation for nature and native plants. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh and has worked in several art and history museums.

Jessamine Finch

Jessamine Finch, PhD, is a Research Botanist at Native Plant Trust and manages the Seed Bank of the New England Plant Conservation Program (NEPCoP) at Garden in the Woods. Her research interests focus on the intersection of seed ecology, land management, and climate change. Jessamine holds a BA in Biological Sciences from Smith College and a PhD in Plant Biology and Conservation from Northwestern University and Chicago Botanic Garden.

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.

Anisa George

Anisa George is a permaculture designer and certified guide through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides. Her approach to forest therapy grows organically out of her experience with collaborative theater: marrying playful elements of ensemble-created performance with the mindful presence and gentle pace of the forest therapy tradition.

Carol Gracie

Carol Gracie is retired from The New York Botanical Garden, where she spent many years leading natural history tours and exploring South American rainforests for plants. She has since returned to her earlier interest in local flora, publishing three books on this topic: Wildflowers in the Field and Forest: A Field Guide to the Northeastern United States (co-authored with Steven Clemants), Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast: A Natural History, and Summer Wildflowers of the Northeast: A Natural History, published by Princeton University Press in 2020. Carol has recently completed another book for Princeton to be titled Florapedia, which will appear in spring of 2021.

Nancy Gregory

Nancy Gregory earned an MS in Plant Pathology from Penn State University and spent several years at the Tropical Research and Education Center in Florida, followed by 26 years at University of Delaware in the Plant Diagnostic Clinic. She has taught courses on plant diseases, presented seminars, and, in retirement, continues to teach.

Eileen Hazard

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

Amy Highland

Amy Highland obtained her degree in Public Horticulture from Purdue University and is currently the Director of Collections and Conservation Lead at Mt. Cuba Center. She manages both living and non-living collections, focusing on expanding the genetic diversity of the gardens and coordinating the Center’s conservation efforts.

Mark Highland

Mark Highland received an MS from the Longwood Graduate Program, focusing on compost and potting soil. He is the founder and president of The Organic Mechanic Soil Company, LLC, a local supplier of organic, peat-free soils. Mark is the author of the recently published Practical Organic Gardening: The No-Nonsense Guide to Growing Naturally.

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.

Sam Hoadley

Sam Hoadley is the Manager of Horticultural Research at Mt. Cuba Center where he evaluates native plant species, old and new cultivars, and hybrids in the Trial Garden. Prior to working at Mt. Cuba, he was the lead horticulturalist for Longwood Gardens’ Hillside Garden. He earned his degree in Sustainable Landscape Horticulture from the University of Vermont.

Chris Hoess

Chris Hoess teaches biology and biochemistry at Delaware Technical Community College and is Chair of the Friends of the State Line Serpentine Barrens. His interests include ferns, trilliums, plant phylogenetics, and the management and restoration of serpentine ecosystems.

Mike Hudson

Mike Hudson has been birding Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania since he was ten years old and has a love of shorebirds and shore-birding. He has worked as a field biologist and science educator, is a former editor of North American Birds, and is an eBird reviewer in Delaware. Mike is the current Vice President of the Delaware Ornithological Society.

Sylvan Kaufman

Sylvan Kaufman, PhD, is an adjunct professor at George Washington University, a Science Adviser to Adkins Arboretum, and participates on the Maryland Invasive Species Council. She consults, writes, and teaches ecology, botany, and landscape restoration classes.

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.

Faith Kuehn

Faith B. Kuehn has spent most of her career working on pollinator conservation, invasive species control, and pest management. Her current project is Green Cabinet, focusing on pollinator conservation and therapeutic gardening at Planting Hope Gardens.

Nancy Lawson

Nancy Lawson is the author of The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife and a columnist for All Animals magazine. A frequent speaker on garden ecology, she founded Humane Gardener, an outreach initiative dedicated to animal-friendly landscaping methods. Lawson's book and wildlife habitat have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Oprah Magazine.

Abra Lee

Abra Lee is owner of Conquer the Soil, a brand at the intersection of plants and pop culture. She is a 2019–2020 Fellow at Longwood Gardens and has more than two decades of experience in horticulture, including as a municipal arborist and landscape manager for international airports in Atlanta and Houston.

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.

Joan Maloof

Joan Maloof is a native Delawarean who founded the Old-Growth Forest Network, an organization to preserve the remaining ancient forests of the United States and to connect all generations with those forests. Maloof is the author of four books about forests: Teaching the Trees; Among the Ancients; Nature’s Temples; and The Living Forest. She is professor emerita at Salisbury University in Maryland.

Holly Merker

Holly Merker is an avid birder, a birding instructor and guide for National Audubon and the American Birding Association, and the lead eBird data reviewer for Pennsylvania. When not out birding or leading birding tours, Holly teaches watershed ecology to thousands of students in Downingtown, PA, schools.

Devon Mihesuah

Devon Mihesuah is an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and is the Cora Lee Beers Price Professor in the Humanities Program at the University of Kansas. A historian by training, she is the author of numerous award-winning non-fiction and fiction books, including Recovering Our Ancestors’ Gardens: Indigenous Recipes and Guide to Diet and Fitness that won Gourmand International’s Best Indigenous Book in the US and the Special Award of the Jury, and Indigenous Food Sovereigntyin the United States: Restoring Cultural Knowledge, Protecting Environments, and Regaining Health, co-edited with Elizabeth Hoover, that won the Austin Award of the Society for Economic Botany and Gourmand’s Best in the World Indigenous Book. She is former Editor of the American Indian Quarterly and the University Nebraska Press book series, “Contemporary Indigenous Issues.” She oversees the American Indian Health and Diet Project at KU and the Facebook page, Indigenous Eating.

Nedda Moqtaderi

Nedda Moqtaderi has spent more than a decade researching the history of the Mt. Cuba Center property. She received her M.A. from the University of Delaware/ Winterthur Program in Early American Culture and has experience in historic preservation, oral history, archaeology, museum education, and archival collections management.

Serah Pesce

Serah Pesce is an Assistant Horticulturist in the Formal Gardens at Mt Cuba Center. She holds a BS in Landscape Contracting, Design/Build from Pennsylvania State University and is a Delaware Nature Society Certified Habitat Steward. Serah’s own certified backyard wildlife habitat was featured in the Spring 2020 issue of Outdoor Delaware. Serah has also created flower arrangements for weddings over the past 2 decades and has extensive experience in floral design.

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.

James Rockwell

James Rockwell is the Greenhouse and Nursery Production Manager at Mt. Cuba Center, where he oversees plant production in our conservation research greenhouse. Prior to his tenure here, James earned two bachelor’s degrees from Virginia Tech and was a TRIAD Fellow at Longwood Gardens.

Kathy Salisbury

Kathy Salisbury is the director of the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University and owns her own horticulture education and communication consulting business Katsura Horticultural. A self-described plant nerd, it is Kathy’s goal to connect everyone to the plant world around them.

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.

Megan Schiff

Megan Schiff is an Education Assistant at Mt. Cuba Center where she manages the internship program. She has a master’s degree in Entomology and enjoys learning about the natural world.

Connie Schmotzer

Connie Schmotzer is the Consumer Horticulture Educator for Penn State Extension in York County. She coordinates the county Master Gardener Program and the statewide Pollinator Friendly Garden Certification Program.

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.

Pete Shotzberger

Pete Shotzberger is the Compost and Chemical Specialist at Mt. Cuba Center and a NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) Accredited Organic Land Care Professional.

Clay Stradley

Clay Stradley is the Custom Potting Manager at Gateway Garden Center in Hockessin, DE. He has an MSc in the Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants from the University of Edinburgh and has a strong interest in native plants and their conservation.

Cathy Stragar

Cathy Stragar currently manages the Plant Protection and Weed Management’s bio control program and supervises the greenhouse and plant pathology lab for the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA). Before starting at MDA in 2016 she worked in various field biology positions including projects with the National Park Service, USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. She graduated with a BS in Horticulture Science from the University of Maryland at College Park and then a Masters in Entomology from the University of Delaware in 2008. She is a lifelong naturalist and educator, leading programs with the Audubon Naturalist Society regularly, and annually with a number of other groups.

Emily Tinalli

Emily Tinalli is the Horticulturist for Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art. She has a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Farmingdale State College and enjoys knitting, wild land adventuring, and gardening with native plants.

Larry Weaner

Larry Weaner founded Larry Weaner Landscape Associates in 1982 and has gained a national reputation for combining ecological restoration with garden design traditions. In 2008 he received the top three design awards from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, and his work has been profiled in regional and national publications, including The New York Times. An active guest lecturer and instructor for horticultural and environmental organizations throughout the U.S, he developed New Directions in the American Landscape, a conference series dedicated to advancing the art and science of natural landscape design.

Jenna Webster

Jenna Webster is a designer with Larry Weaner Landscape Associates where she works on meadow and habitat plans for public parks and preserves as well as landscape master plans for residential properties. She holds a Master of Science in Ecological Design from the Conway School.

Jim White

Jim White currently serves as the Senior Fellow for Land and Biodiversity Management at the Delaware Nature Society, where he has worked for 35 years. In addition to insects, amphibians and reptiles, Jim is also keenly interested in owls. He has led many field trips in pursuit of amphibians and presents programs on them throughout our area using his own photography.

Scott Woodbury

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