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Mt Cuba Center

Class Acts

Kathy Andrzejewski

Kathy Andrzejewski (MEd, HT) works as an educator at Mt. Cuba Center and is a certified Horticulture Therapist. She earned her certification through the Chicago Botanic Garden and is also a Delaware Master Naturalist. She enjoys using her knowledge to have people of all ages experience the health and wellness benefits that result from engaging with nature.

Susan Barton

Susan Barton, PhD, is an extension specialist and professor in the Plant and Soil Sciences Department at the University of Delaware. She helped develop the Plants for a Livable Delaware program and, in 2015, received the Land Ethics Award in the residential category from Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve for her work on a sustainable demonstration project in New Castle County.

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.

Kelly Billing

Kelly Billing is a Maryland Certified Professional Horticulturist with more than 32 years of experience in the water gardening industry. She compiled and maintains the Aquatic Plant Invasive Species List for the nursery trade and is coauthor of The Water Gardener’s Bible and The Lotus: Know It and Grow It.

Eileen Boyle

Eileen Boyle is the former 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.

Kesha Braunskill

Kesha Braunskill is a beadwork artist and tribal citizen of the Lenape Tribe of Delaware. She has always had a connection with nature and much of her beadwork is centered with native plant and wildlife in mind. She was taught beading from community elders from the Shinnecock Nation and the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware. Kesha uses bead working to stay connected to her culture and create heirloom pieces that can be passed on to others.

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.

Beth Castelletti

Beth Castelletti is an Assistant Horticulturist working in the Upper and Middle Naturalistic gardens at Mt. Cuba Center. Prior to this, she spent three years as a Seasonal Horticulturists’ Assistant rotating in several areas of MCC. She earned a degree in Sustainable Horticulture from the Community College of Baltimore County.

Jeffrey “Doc” Cheskin

Jeffrey “Doc” Cheskin has been making ciders for over a decade and has won some of the highest honors given to a cidermaker in the US, including producing one of the top 15 ciders in America in 2020. He founded Liquid Alchemy Beverages in 2012 with his partner Terri Sorantino, and their hard ciders are now available in over 20 locations throughout Delaware.

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.

Louise Clarke

Louise Clarke obtained a BS in Environmental Design and Horticulture from Temple University and is the steward of The Morris Arboretum’s Bloomfield Farm. She lectures on numerous plant-centric topics, leads creative workshops, and tends to a home garden of native perennials, bulbs, and unusual vines.

George Coombs

George Coombs, Director of Horticulture at Mt. Cuba Center, leads a team of horticulturists, arborists, and grounds maintenance technicians who cultivate and improve formal and naturalistic gardens and play a pivotal role in the implementation of Mt. Cuba Center’s long-range master plan. George produced award-winning reports on native plant research as the former Manager of Horticultural Research at Mt Cuba Center and introduced four new Coreopsis cultivars. He holds a degree in Plant Science from the University of Delaware with a focus on landscape horticulture.

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.

Susan Dixon

Susan Dixon is the perennial plant buyer and department manager at Gateway Garden Center in Hockessin, DE. She has attended classes ornamental horticulture at New York Botanical Garden and is currently earning her certificate of merit at Longwood. She has a passion for wildlife and the native plants that support them.

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.

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.

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.

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.

David Greaves

David Greaves is a biologist at the EPA, wildlife photographer, and founder of Nature Under Your Nose (NUYN) brand. His love for nature and the outdoors was discovered while growing up in the Washington, D.C. area. He uses his photography and his NUYN brand to encourage people of all ages, colors, and backgrounds to explore and enjoy the nature they can find all around them.

Patrick Greenwald

Patrick Greenwald is the Horticulturist for the Meadow and Dogwood Path gardens at Mt. Cuba Center. He has an MS in Plant Science from Missouri State University and a passion for native plants of eastern North America. Specializing in matrix gardens, He loves to increase diversity in garden design through naturalistic native plantings. His personal mission is to inspire fellow nature advocates and gardeners one garden at a time.

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.

Rachelan Griffin

Rachelan Griffin is a trained Herbalist and graduate student of the David Winston Center for Herbal Studies. She has a special interest in “kitchen medicine”, as well as herbal medicine for children and special populations, and a background as an educator.

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 former 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 horticulturist for Longwood Gardens’ Hillside Garden. He earned his degree in Sustainable Landscape Horticulture from the University of Vermont.

Diane Keesee

Diane Keesee has a passion for creating interesting signature cocktails, spirit infusions, shrubs, and bitters, using unique seasonal ingredients. She has been involved in hospitality management and the beverage industry for more than 20 years, including having worked for Greenville Country Club and Vicmead Hunt Club.

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.

Steven Kristoph

Steven Kristoph, widely known for his encyclopedic knowledge of plants, owns Steven Kristoph Nursery and has been an adjunct instructor at Rutgers University for more than 25 years. He also runs a garden design company that provides a full range of services to commercial and residential customers.

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.

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.

Mindy Lighthipe

Mindy Lighthipe received her Certificate in Botanical Illustration from the New York Botanical Garden, where she also developed a Natural Science Illustration Certificate. She is passionate about the natural world and discovering the beauty in every rock, stream, and forest. Mindy received a Silver Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society in London in 2009. She currently teaches Scientific Illustration at the University of Florida.

Serenella Linares

Serenella Linares is Director of Adult Programs at Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) and Co-Chair of Naturally Latinos. Serenella is dedicated to sparking curiosity about nature and inspiring nature stewardship. She holds a BS in Biology from Universidad Metropolitana de Puerto Rico, an MS in Atmospheric Science from Howard University, and has graduate training in mycology from UMD.

William McAvoy

William 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.

Holly Merker

Holly is an avid birder, educator, writer, and lecturer, who has a passion for bird conservation. She is an instructor for National Audubon and the American Birding Association and is the lead data reviewer for eBird in Pennsylvania. Holly believes in the powerful benefits nature holds for our wellbeing and is lead author on a book on the subject, aptly called Ornitherapy: For Your Mind, Body, and Soul, guiding readers into deeper connections to the birds around them.

Carrie Murphy

Carrie Murphy is an extension agent and program leader for the Lawn and Garden Program at the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. She is also the Master Gardener coordinator for New Castle County, Delaware. She has an MS in Plant and Soil Sciences from the University of Delaware and graduated from the Professional Gardener Program at Longwood Gardens.

Kelly D. Norris

Kelly D. Norris is one of the leading horticulturists of his generation. An award-winning author and plantsman, Kelly’s work in gardens has been featured in The New York Times, Organic Gardening, Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, Fine Gardening, and Garden Design and in numerous local and regional media appearances. His passion for planting at the intersections of horticulture and ecology has culminated in the book New Naturalism: Designing and Planting a Resilient, Ecologically Vibrant Home Garden which debuted in 2021. Kelly also presents plants for Cottage Farms Direct on QVC and lectures widely to consumer and industry audiences.

Rowan Nygard

Serah Pesce

Serah Pesce is the Education Specialist 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. In addition to teaching classes for the Ecological Gardening Certificate, she shares her extensive experience in floral design.

Robert Raguso

Robert Raguso, PhD, is a professor of Chemical Ecology at Cornell University. His research interests run the spectrum of insect-plant interactions mediated by chemistry, especially the role of fragrance in pollination ecology and animal behavior. He has promoted his research by organizing symposia, short courses, and workshops world-wide.

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.

Julie Rotramel

Julie Rotramel is the Plant Recorder at Mt. Cuba Center, where she manages plant information to support the living collections and conservation programs. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Denison University and a master’s degree in Museum Studies from The George Washington University.

Cheryl Salatino

Cheryl Salatino is the principal designer and owner of Dancing Shadows Garden Design, a residential landscape design and services firm. Cheryl Salatino is a Certified Landscape Designer and a Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist (MCH); she received her certificate in landscape design from the Radcliffe Seminars Landscape Design Program of Harvard University.

Matthew Sarver

Matthew Sarver received a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Cornell University and is an Ecological Society of America Certified Senior Ecologist. He has more than 15 years of field experience in wildlife biology, entomology, and land management.

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.

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.

Shelly Silva

Shelly Silva is the digital marketing assistant at Mt. Cuba Center. She has a BFA in Fine Art Photography from Corcoran College of Art & Design and is currently pursuing her MS in Management at Wilmington University. When she isn’t taking pictures or videos for Mt. Cuba’s social platforms, she continues to practice her art with botanical cyanotypes, chalkboard lettering signs, and painting through her brand, Painted Fern Designs. Shelly also holds a Level II Award in Wines from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and enjoys learning and teaching others about the world of wine.

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.

Leirion Sorensen

Leirion Sorensen is the Gardens Manager at Mt. Cuba Center, a role that is ideally suited to her passion for preserving the natural environment and creating aweinspiring outdoor space. She has worked in the horticulture industry for over 25 years and obtained her degree in Ornamental Horticulture from Delaware Valley University.

Bob Sprague

Bob Sprague is a charter member and President of the Native Orchid Conference (NOC) and a long-time director and past president of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society. Currently he works closely with the North Branch Land Trust (NBLT), Longwood Gardens, and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center on a project to preserve a unique population of native orchids in Pennsylvania.

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. Ian is currently studying the effects of non-native plants on birds.

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.

Doug Tallamey

Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has conducted research to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. Author of Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens (2007) and co-author of The Living Landscape (2014), his new book, Nature’s Best Hope, is a 2020 New York Times Best Seller. Among his awards are the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the 2019 Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award.

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.

William Trescott

William Trescott is the Arboriculture Manager at Mt. Cuba Center where he has worked for 33 years. He is an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist®.

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.

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