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2020 New Members

The class of 2020 includes 31 new RCMG volunteers.

2020 Transfers

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Rochelle Jansen

Rochelle is new to Ramsey County but not new to the Master Gardener program. She has been a Master Gardener since 2011, volunteering first in Winona County and then again in Hennepin County Master Gardener program before taking a hiatus for a time. Rochelle works in a Montessori school and, when they raised a greenhouse in 2019, she knew it was time to return to the Master Gardener program. Inspired by the memory of the delicious homegrown carrots of her youth, Rochelle is eager to increase her experience in growing healthy foods at home and sharing that knowledge with her students.

Kerin Marek

Kerin transferred to the Ramsey County Master Gardener program from Olmstead County. She has been interested in horticulture since her early 20's and, based on that interest, decided to have a career in the field. Kerin worked in retail and growing, before establishing her own business 23 years ago in Red Wing and Rochester (MN). She enjoys watching gardens mature over the years, trying new plant material with color and texture combinations. It’s no surprise that she enjoys doing garden art, having worked with concrete and mosaic statuary over the years. Kerin recently moved into a 98-year old home in St Paul and has been enjoying all the improvement projects. Of course, she’s redone most of the landscaping, though she’s excited to see what things come up this year. Outside of gardening, Kerin enjoys tennis, pickleball, kayaking, and hiking.

Tamara Walsky


2020 New Members

Brenda Anderson-Moser

Brenda grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, moved to Minnesota in 1987, and now lives on the Greater East Side of St Paul. Like many Master Gardeners, Brenda became interested in nature at a very young age. One of her earliest memories is watching her grandfather harvest honeycomb from his bee hives so she would have honey for her breakfast toast. Now she loves to tend to her backyard perennial garden and wants to turn her front yard into a pollinator oasis. Brenda has degrees in legal assistance and technical writing. She is also a volunteer interpreter at the Como Zoo's Tropical Encounters exhibit.

Pam Baribeau

Pam picked up the gardening habit from her father, who grew everything with amazing ease. Her memories of potatoes, rhubarb, and dahlias as tall as she was, encourage her to maintain her own (perennial) flower and vegetable gardens. Now retired after 42 years in nursing, Pam volunteers not only as a Master Gardener but also volunteers for the Red Cross and fosters dogs for the Underdog Rescue.

Chris Beal

Chris grew up close to nature in his childhood home on the Iron Range. After college, he was a Peace Corps volunteer, where one of his projects was creating a community garden for in a local village. Few things have been more rewarding than coaxing his first cherry tomato out of the poor soil of a coral atoll. Chris now lives in St Paul with his newborn daughter and hopes to instill that same love of nature in her.

Caitlin Brewer

Caitlin’s earliest memories in the garden are waiting to pop impatiens seed pods. She developed a keen eye for knowing the perfect time where the seed pod explosions are most volatile. (She’s since learned that this process is called explosive dehiscence.) This is how Caitlin got into gardening. Since then, she’s changed her focus to growing food. Making healthy food available to everyone in our communities is essential in her role at work at a nonprofit that serves nutritious meals to people with severe illnesses and is a large reason she joined the Master Gardener program. As someone who lives in an apartment with no balcony, Caitlin has been playing with indoor microgreens and is hoping to learn more ways to grow food in small or unconventional spaces, like container gardening and using more vertical space.

Sarah Broughton

Sarah comes to us from Duluth, MN, though she spent her first formative gardener years in Aurora, MN where her mother kept a vegetable garden. Although she is a licensed attorney, she is not currently practicing. When she’s not gardening, she is busy with her family (husband, two young boys and an English bulldog), cooking, baking, running, skiing, and traveling around the US in an Airstream travel trailer. Her friend George, introduced her to dahlias and it completely hooked her on gardening. As a Master Gardener, she is excited to learn more about native plants and to work with the community, and especially children, to help make a positive impact.

Mark Cool

Mark is an avid vegetable gardener with a fondness for hot peppers. He gardens by the old adage, “It's better to put a 10 cent plant in a $10 hole than a $10 plant in a 10 cent hole.” He enjoys cooking with his harvest and also spends time exercising, skiing, traveling, and reading. A practicing pharmacist, Mark lives in Roseville, having moved here from Auburn NY in 2013.

Sylvia Cuellar

Sylvia is a practicing pediatric dentist who recently returned to MN after completing residency in NYC. She comes to the Master Gardener Program with a passion for growing tomatoes and teaching youth about gardening so they can be as excited about plants as she is.

Jennifer Daul

Jennifer started gardening with her parents in Fargo, ND; deadheading petunias for her mom and caring for the lawn with her dad. She continues the tradition of growing flowers in her own garden in St Paul with her three daughters. Her current favorites are Cosmos, Zinnias, and Bachelor Buttons. In addition to gardening, Jennifer enjoys cooking, reading and writing.

Camilla Dreasher

Camilla learned to love gardening from her parents while growing up in Iowa. She has a special place in her heart for peonies, tomatoes and cucumbers. Now living in an apartment in Roseville, Camilla raises “too many” houseplants, including an impressive number of orchids. When not gardening, Camilla works as a computer repair technician for a local non-profit. She enjoys reading, knitting and watching movies in her spare time.

Patrick English

Patrick lives in a 140 year old house in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul with his partner, and their cat and dog. He got interested in gardening when, after buying a corsage for a high school dance, he realized how expensive those small flower arrangements can be. After that, he planted a rose bush to make them himself. In his day job, Patrick is a residential architect who hopes to get his license after attending graduate school in the near future. Patrick is dedicated to sustainability and social equity in the garden, helping neighbors learn to grow their own nutrient-rich food and answering garden questions as much as he can.

Emily Flagstad

As a child of an Army family, Emily lived in 10 different cities before moving to Minnesota in 1997. She’s since fallen in love with Minnesotan gardening and has converted her grass-heavy lawn into a perennial oasis. Emily is a mom of three daughters, a voracious reader, and a frequent traveler to cities with beautiful gardens. She is excited to share her love of gardening, communication skills, and her commitment to reaching diverse communities as a Master Gardener volunteer.

Tiffa Foster

Tiffa and her family decided to move to Minnesota after living all around the world. She is an accomplished playwright and has earned a few awards for some screenplays she’s written in the US and the UK. Like many Master Gardener Volunteers, Tiffa came to love the garden by helping her grandmother remove potato bugs from her incredible vegetable garden. She has learned much since those early bug-squashing days and looks forward to learning more. She recommends every gardener practice some benign neglect in the garden and grow celery.

Susan Grigal

Sue lives in the Como Park neighborhood of St Paul. Her love for gardening grew from her parent’s vegetable gardens and her grandmothers’ skills at preserving everything. Today, she tends to ever-changing gardens as trees mature and shade takes over sunny locations. She loves to challenge hardiness zones in her lake gardens in northern Minnesota. Sue works full time for an orthopedic solutions manufacturer and enjoys travel, good books, family and friends. She’s looking forward to the Master Gardener Program and learning, sharing and encouraging others with solutions to gardening questions.

Deon Haider

Deon has been in the garden since she was a child under her mother’s landscape design business. She spent lots of time in the backyard playing with toads and caterpillars, and ate many chives and sour cherries. Today, Deon works for Extension as a SNAP-Ed Educator, helping low-income communities and individuals make healthy food choices. She also has spent several years working at an educational farm and managing a series of exhibit gardens representing gardens from the mid-1800s to today. Outside of the garden, Deon is a theater artist and enjoys both directing and doing improv.

Laura Hanson

While her mother grew vegetables when she was a child, Laura didn’t start gardening herself until graduate school, when another student invited her into a community garden. She learned from the other gardeners there and carried that interest forward. Laura earned a graduate degree in Food Science and Nutrition at Kansas State University and has worked in several of our local large food companies, including Pilsbury and General Mills. In recent years at General Mills, Laura worked alongside members of the University of MN Agronomy Department on perennial crops and cover crops and saw an opportunity for home gardeners to adapt some of the practices and improve soil, water and air quality.

Tawny Hoeger-Lerdal

While growing up in a gardening family (where her earliest garden memory is sneaking into the neighbor's strawberry patch), Tawny didn't take an interest in gardening until college. Now she lives with her husband and two boys (5 yrs and 2 yrs) in the Como neighborhood of St. Paul and has taken a recent interest in starting seeds. Tawny is a pediatric nurse and gardening has been her outlet through stressful times. Tawny’s favorite gardening tip came from a Master Gardener at a plant sale. That person said, “If there aren't plants that are failing or dying, then you aren't trying anything new.”

Jerry Kluthe

Like many Master Gardeners, Gerald (“Jerry”) learned his appreciation for gardening from his parent’s very large vegetable garden. His brothers and he spent many hours planting, weeding, watering, harvesting and then going door to door selling fresh vegetables to neighbors. Living in Mounds View, Jerry has spent the last 30 years working on his garden, which has gone very shady to part shade to having areas of full sun after losing a couple trees to disease. In addition to volunteering as a Master Gardener, Jerry helps build houses with Habitat for Humanity.

Kit Leffler

Kit is a lifelong gardener. As a young child, she tottered after her grandpa with a garden hose, marveling at his giant magnolia trees. In middle school, she established an herb and perennial garden in the backyard with her mom. After college, and upon moving to Minnesota from Kansas, she promptly joined a community garden. Kit is an active member of St. Anthony Park Community Garden (SAPCG). Kit is looking forward to developing confidence in discussing gardening methods with the general public and in helping to develop accessibility gardening programs.

Krystal Morley

Krystal is a transplanted gardener from south-central Alaska where her first garden was in Big Lake, Alaska. (It was a load of topsoil dumped onto her sandbar backyard but “at least the kale grew,” she says.) Now firmly ensconced in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood with her partner and son, her goal is to make connections with other gardeners and neighbors to build a more resilient food system and soul-nourishing community. Projects focused on urban agriculture and sustainability education are some of her top interests. When she’s not in the garden you will probably find her knitting, sewing, or trying out a new handcraft.

Carla Olson

Carla has been surrounded by gardens all her life, starting with her childhood in Owatonna and her mother’s extensive flower garden. Now in New Brighton, Carla enjoys growing vegetables and preserving them in the fall. She’s incorporated more flowers into her gardens to support pollinators and started composting to do her part to combat climate change. Carla enjoys outdoor activities of any kind: hiking, biking, walking, running, swimming, golf, and cross country skiing.

Kathy Passe

Kathy lives in the Highland Park neighborhood in St. Paul but grew up on a farm outside of Wabasha in southeastern Minnesota. There she helped care for a massive vegetable garden that fed a family of 10; today she has a small pollinator perennial garden, which is perfect for her urban space. Year round, she volunteers as a mentor for the Small Business Administration SCORE program and, during the winter months, she volunteers for the AARP Foundation Tax Aide program. When she has free time between gardening seasons, she quilts to help pass time. Kathy is looking forward to learning as much as possible as Master Gardener and to answering tough questions from the community.

Ashley Penthan

Ashley didn't grow up gardening. However, she's developed strong interests in tending vegetable plots at community gardens, growing plants indoors, and planning native prairie plantings to support pollinators and run-off water at her new Twin Cities home. Beyond the garden, Ashley enjoys outdoor activities in all seasons, including biking (both commuting & off-road), cross-country skiing, paddling, and camping. She loves cooking, especially with locally-grown vegetables from her garden and a CSA share.

Marcus Phelps-Munson

Marcus is a self-described plantaholic. He used to garden alone but then discovered gardening groups, whose members discuss gardening ideas, swap plants, and plot to travel to local and distant gardens to be plant voyeurs. After joining one group, he had to join another, and another, and finally joined the Master Gardeners. As a Master Gardener, Marcus is hoping to disseminate accurate science-based information to others who ask for it. By doing so, he will not only be helping them to be better-informed gardeners and environmental stewards, but will personally gain knowledge and ideas for his own nefarious, horticultural purposes. When not in the garden, Marcus enjoys cooking, bike riding, exploring new places, photography—particularly garden photography.

Becky Rude

Becky grew up in Buffalo, MN but spent most of her adult life gardening in the Arid West, which has quite different growing conditions. Inspired by her grandpa, who meticulously labeled each plant with its scientific name, Becky started with flower gardens. She is expanding into native plants and sustainable gardening practices. Outside of the garden, Becky is a Project Manager/Sr Environmental Planner and works on all aspects of environmental compliance. Beyond that, she loves camping, traveling, playing violin, and tinkering on her house.

Jenna Strank

Jenna is a Minnesota native currently living in St. Paul. She is slowly restoring her creeping bellflower-ridden perennial beds and adding new plants to diversify the landscape in her yard, attract wildlife and incorporate edibles. When not in the garden, she enjoys traveling, cooking and exploring parks in the Twin Cities.

Laurel Watt

Laurel gardens in the Macalester Groveland neighborhood of St. Paul where she has gradually reduced the turfgrass in her yard since beginning to garden in 1994. Little did she know that what started as an impulse to preserve the garden she inherited would become a passion. She loves trying new plants and is especially fond of collecting different cultivars of Clematis (15 and counting!) and Heuchera. She recently retired from Inver Hills Community College where she taught college reading, study skills, basic writing, and ESL for almost 30 years. When she’s not gardening (or thinking about new plants), Laurel belongs to two book groups and the Ramsey County Garden Club.

Claire Warren

Morgan Weinert (they/them/their)

Morgan is from Saint Paul, but moved here recently from San Francisco.They were raised in Colorado where their mom taught me to garden. She is an avid gardener and instilled a love of gardening in Morgan. Morgan is particularly interested in vegetable gardening, but have recently found an interest in native perennials. They love to cook and use things they've grown- especially in canning and fermenting! As a former apartment dweller, They are passionate about helping people love gardening no matter their living situation. When not in the garden, Morgan a nurse practitioner at a clinic that serves people experiencing homelessness. They also have a five year old who keeps them busy!


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