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.

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.

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.

Mary Cronin

Mary Cronin is Dean of Education and Public Programs at Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, PA. She holds a BA in Art History from Swarthmore College and a Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education from George Washington University.

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.

Carrie Di Costanzo

Carrie Di Costanzo worked as a fashion illustrator before shifting her focus to botanical art. Her work has won several awards in juried shows in the United States and is held in The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, and private collections.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mark Manning

Mark Manning has a BS 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.

Aron McConnell

Aron McConnell is a Doctor of Physical Therapy at Christiana Care Health Systems where he treats a variety of orthopedic conditions in clients of all ages. His personal ideology of physical therapy is that each client should be treated with a custom-designed program based on an individualized assessment and the client’s personal goals.

Rebecca McMackin

Rebecca McMackin is the Director of Horticulture at Brooklyn Bridge Park where she oversees 85 acres of diverse parkland, including meadows, wetlands, forest, and ornamental beds, with the aim of encouraging biodiversity. She is an ecologically obsessed horticulturist, writes about landscape management and pollination ecology, and designs the occasional garden.

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.

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.

William Needham

William Needham is a mushroom expert and the current President of the Mycological Association of Washington, D.C. Trained as an engineer, he is a Master Naturalist, has led fungi forays in Maryland for the past ten years, and frequently lectures on the ecology and importance of mushrooms.

Ken Norman

Ken Norman, AIFD, PFCI, is a third-generation florist and has been a featured designer at the Philadelphia Flower Show. He conducts hands-on workshops, lectures, and presentations for professional and public audiences.

Matt Partain

Matt Partain is the Grounds Superintendent at Glenstone, a contemporary art museum in Potomac, MD. He has a BS in Landscape Management from the University of Georgia, previously served as the Grounds Manager at Berea College in Berea, KY, and was a Grounds Team Leader at both The Biltmore Company and Walt Disney World.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Scott Schuette

Scott Schuette, PhD, earned his doctorate in plant biology from Southern Illinois University. He is a bryologist, botanist, ecologist, and evolutionary biologist with a passion for conservation of native plant diversity. Scott is the Inventory Manager with the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

John Wenderoth

John Wenderoth earned a master’s degree in regional planning and economics at the University of Pennsylvania, after which he worked for several USDA agencies. He is a past board president of the Pennsylvania-New Jersey Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation and has volunteered at Tyler Arboretum to maintain an American chestnut orchard.

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.

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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