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.

Rochelle Bartolomei

Rochelle Bartolomei is the Manager of the Native Plant Program for Montgomery County Parks, MD, which provides native ecotype plants to Parks projects, including wetland depressions and meadows. She is the former Executive Director of Chesapeake Natives Inc., a non-profit that specializes in growing and promoting native plants.

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 and a professor of horticulture at Mercer College in New Jersey.

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.

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 is co-founder of the Awareness Center in Newark and has practiced yoga for more than 40 years. 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 a Grounds Maintenance Technician at Mt. Cuba Center. Prior to this he managed a commercial maintenance company where he oversaw operations, equipment maintenance, scheduling, and purchasing.

Shelby French

Shelby French oversees plant propagation, wild collections, and various research projects as the Propagation Manager at Mt. Cuba Center. 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 focuses on the importance of keeping our deeply-rooted cultural traditions alive. The School specializes in carefully crafted small batch organic soaps and candles using historical methods and, when possible, local ingredients. Nichole developed her heritage skills at Colonial Williamsburg.

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.

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.

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 as well as a seasoned 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. She is also the Lifestyle Coach at Hockessin Chiropractic Centre.

Mark Manning

Mark Manning has a bachelor’s in Environmental Science and Chemistry from Rider University. He teaches chemistry and toxicology at Hopewell Valley Central High School in New Jersey and instructs students about poisonous plants and their edible look-alikes.

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.

Becky Melzer

Becky Melzer is the Assistant Manager of the Native Plant Program for Montgomery County Parks, MD. She has a Landscape Technology Certificate and is a Certified Professional Horticulturist. Becky has five years’ experience at Pope Farm Nursery propagating and producing native plants.

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.

Margaret Saylor

Margaret Saylor is the editor/designer of the American Society of Botanical Artists’ The Botanical Artist journal. She earned a Certificate in Botanical art and Illustration, with distinction, from the New York Botanical Garden.

Joe Sebastiani

Joe Sebastiani is the Ashland Nature Center Manager for the Delaware Nature Society. He is passionate about birds and wildlife, founded 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 has a degree in Environmental and Forest Biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and is a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner.

Judy Simon

Judy Simon is a botanical artist and freelance illustrator who has combined her love of gardening with her drawing and painting career. She is a member of the Philadelphia Society of Botanical Illustrators and the American Society of Botanical Artists. Her work is in many private collections.

Bob Sprague

Bob Sprague is a Charter Member and former Director of the Native Orchid Conference, President of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society, and Chairman of the International Orchid Show at the Academy of Natural Sciences. He travels extensively to photograph native orchids and birds.

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.

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.

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