Updated: Nov 9, 2022
The class of 2022 includes 59 new RCMG volunteers.
Diana Rankin (She/Her/Hers)
Diana moved from Kanabec County and joined Ramsey County this year. She enjoys growing shrubs, hardy roses, and perennials and combining them in large garden beds. She initially joined the Master Gardener program in 2005 to learn as much as she could about plants and gardening. She loves sharing the things she learns and is particularly interested in using her non-fiction writing skills (formerly her career) to support RCMG.
JoAnne Sabin (She/Her/Hers)
JoAnne is a 2022 transfer Master Gardener and grows perennials, wildflowers, and over 1,200 square feet of organic vegetables in Roseville and Stillwater. As a beekeeper, she is particularly interested in pollinator habitat and has also designed two raingardens at the Master Gardener Education and Research Display Garden at UMore Park in Rosemount, MN. Some of her photographs of bees foraging on flowers can be seen in the honey bee exhibit slideshow at the State Fair. JoAnne enjoys learning, talking, and teaching others about plants.
2022 New Members
Christy Bartlett (She/Her/Hers)
Christy enjoys growing vegetables and working with MN native plants in Vadnais Heights. When she began researching plants for a MN native rain garden, she realized there is so much to learn and she wants to share what she learns with others to help them grow. Christy also enjoys hiking, ice skating, remodeling and traveling.
Chelsea Beary (She/Her/Hers)
Chelsea learned to garden from her parents while growing up in Iowa. Now she enjoys planting veggies and turning them into tasty foods! She joined the Master Gardener Volunteer Program to learn, to meet and work alongside other gardeners, and spark interest within the community.
Scott Beary (He/Him/His)
About 2017 Scott and his wife Chelsea decided to try growing herbs in just a couple pots. They had just gotten into cooking and wanted an easy way to add fresh herbs to their food. Their garden has grown every year since! Scott enjoys restoring old cast iron, woodworking, leather-working, and is a bit of a car guy. He is looks forward to giving back to the community.
Julie Bechtold (She/Her/Hers)
Julie lives in Roseville and is currently trying to fill her half-acre lot with perennial flower beds. She enjoys growing and propagating houseplants, but prefers being outside in her gardens. She is looking forward to learning about the seed trial program, learning how to diagnose plant diseases, and working on the plant sale. Julie has experience working behind-the-scenes to keep operations running smoothly and enjoys working one-on-one with people who are eager & willing to learn.
Heather Benedict (She/Her/Hers)
Heather grows native perennials and fruits in her garden in Roseville. She learned as a middle-schooler that gardening made her feel calm and connected. She also enjoys the creative arts such as sewing, cooking, and mixed media as well as volunteering as a Girl Scout Troop Leader. Heather enjoys sharing the idea that everyone can be creative, and as a Master Gardener is looking forward to teaching others how easy it is to grow food.
Olivia Blanchflower (She/Her/Hers)
Olivia is new to Minnesota, having grown up in Massachusetts where her early memories of gardening are of harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplants with her grandfather. As a new Minnesota gardener, she is enjoying learning about native plants for this climate along with the recent challenges of water-starved tomato plants and egregious squirrel behavior. She also enjoys farmers’ markets, cooking, reading, travel, and exercising. Olivia is looking forward to learning more about creating and maintaining gardens that nourish people, pollinators, and the soil.
Amelia Boulware (She/Her/Hers)
Like many Master Gardener volunteers, Amelia’s first garden memories were of being enlisted to help weed family vegetable gardens in the heat and humidity of midsummer. Now she most enjoys gardening that is practical, ecological, and sustainable, like growing vegetables organically and from seed, and planting native, drought-resistant, and pollinator-friendly plants. She hopes to share what she learns in ways that motivate people to take constructive action to address climate change.
Bill Brian (He/Him/His)
Originally from Michigan, Bill learned vegetable gardening from his grandparents. Now in Saint Paul, he has continued this practice and over the years has progressed to flower gardening as well. Bill and his wife have led many community-based service organizations over the years. Recently retired, his career as a research scientist will be a great asset as he volunteers and helps others to create and maintain garden spaces.
Michelle Bruhn (She/Her/Hers)
Michelle hails from White Bear Lake where she grows vegetables and plants for native pollinators. Her desire to share her love of growing veggies and cooking with her homegrown food undoubtedly comes from her early experiences gardening with her parents and grandparents. Michelle also enjoys many other outdoor activities and has worked as a private gardener, in garden centers, and has her own blog. She believes that gardening is the perfect way to keep growing and learning.
Dawn Cameron (She/Her/Hers)
Dawn has been gardening as long as she can remember. She focuses on “Right Plant–Right Place” and gardens with perennial and native plants to support pollinators. She also loves container gardening. She raises honeybees and chickens at her home in Roseville.
Liz Colwell (She/Her/Hers)
Liz lives in the Frogtown neighborhood of St Paul and enjoys working with native plants and supporting local pollinators. Beyond the garden, she enjoys floor-loom weaving and sketching.
Susie DeShon (She/Her/Hers)
Susie joins us with over 20 years of experience volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in addition to currently gardening at the Summit Hill Community Garden. She started gardening in the 1980’s and realizes there is more to learn every year. Susie’s gardening passion was started as a child in Denver, Colorado being around her grandmother’s gardens and sunroom filled with plants. She looks forward to helping and working with community gardeners.
Stephanie Djock (She/Her/Hers)
Stephanie’s initial gardening experience was in her parents’ large Wisconsin garden where she “got to” pick rocks and weeds. She is a writer, loves to cook, and enjoys brewing beer; yes, she grows hops! Stephanie is mostly interested in growing vegetables and perennials and had great success growing them in the excellent soil at her first house. However, since she has moved to her current house, presenting her with poor, heavy, clay soil, she realizes there is more to learn and has chosen to join us so she can learn more.
No bio provided
Laura Duckett (She/Her/Hers)
Laura enjoys gardening both indoors and outdoors, growing flowers, ornamental plants and plants for food in the limited space that she has. In addition to being a Master Gardener volunteer, she serves as a volunteer associate editor of an interdisciplinary, international professional journal. She enjoys sailing, walking and hiking (especially on the North Shore), yoga, reading, cooking good food.
Kaleigh Frey (She/Her/Hers)
Kaleigh learned to garden while pulling weeds from her mom’s garden. She enjoys growing flowers and is looking forward to increasing her skills while also sharing knowledge with others. She enjoys cross-stitching, hiking, and cooking.
Pat has been gardening since she was 4 years old. Most of her gardening experience includes native perennials, trees and houseplants. She is most interested in researching, answering garden questions, working with children and donating plants and produce. Beyond the garden, Pat is an artist (paint and fiber) and avid outdoors woman.
Chris Gray (He/Him/His)
Chris has been growing houseplants for years and started growing outdoors when he moved into his house in New Brighton. He enjoys being outdoors, and I especially love camping and hiking. Chris wanted to get more involved in gardening and volunteering, and the Master Gardener program feels like a great way to accomplish both!
Margaret Green (She/Her/Hers)
Margaret grew up working in her mother’s vegetable garden in Durham, North Carolina, but she is currently looking forward to learning about Minnesota gardening—especially perennials and native plants. Margaret admits she has a lot to learn; after purchasing an “easy-to-grow” plant, she found it soon after prostrate on the desk from lack of water. Margaret is also interested in pottery, reading, and travel.
Britta Greene (She/Her/Hers)
Britta (Bree-tah) prefers growing vegetables and edible plants but her first gardening memories are of planting bulbs with her mom. She is looking forward to working with young people as a Master Gardener volunteer.
Matt Haney (He/Him/His)
Matt hails from Omaha where he grew up in a family of gardeners. His eureka moment as a gardener occurred when he uprooted his plants after recognizing how closely they resembled the ones at the gas station. Matt enjoys learning and expects the Master Gardener Volunteer Program to help him exponentially grow his gardening skills. He is an entrepreneur and beekeeper living in St. Paul.
Jayne Harris (She/Her/Hers)
Jayne grew up on a hobby farm in rural Minnesota. She loves gardening now but weeding as a kid wasn't exactly a pleasure. She is most interested in preserving biodiversity by restoring native plant habitat and rebuilding children’s relationship with the great outdoors and nature. Her background and education in business, Jayne has in-depth understanding of developing and launching new services and products to meet the needs of others, which she’s hoping to use to the benefit of RCMG.
Nima Hassan (She/Her/Hers)
Nima was born in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and grew up in Fridley (MN). She is most interested in growing fruits and vegetables, especially berries, tomatoes, peppers, and fruiting trees. Outside of gardening, she enjoys learning and practicing foreign languages, drawing, listening to music, and spending time in nature.
Sarah Hilger (She/Her/Hers)
Sarah’s first gardening memory was growing a green bean plant from a seed in first or second grade. Now she most enjoys vegetable and native plant gardening, and she decided to join the program to give back to her community, meet fellow gardeners, and learn more about gardening. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Sarah also enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, and traveling.
Wanda Hoehl (She/Her/Hers)
Wanda believes that plants can save the world. She enjoys growing vegetables – though she’s not very fond of green beans after weeding her dad’s expansive bean patch as a kid – and is learning to grow in containers. She loves to read, watch old movies, and the visual arts; she is learning to oil paint.
Judy Johnson (She/Her/Hers)
Judy started her gardener journey when her dad tilled up all of their small backyard to plant vegetables; there was no room left to play! Now she loves planting a variety of perennials and getting blooms throughout the growing season. She likes designing spaces so people take notice when they walk by. Judy has always wanted to be a Master Gardener volunteer and hopes to help kids develop a lifelong love of gardening and nature.
No bio provided
Natalie King (She/Her/Hers)
Natalie, born and raised in Saint Paul, grew up planting corn with her dad and is most interested in vegetable and flower gardening. Strongly influenced by her mother, a former Master Gardener, Natalie knew she was a gardener when she was devastated the first time she didn’t have a garden plot to tend. In addition to cycling, of course her biggest hobby is gardening. Her experience in marketing at Shutterfly will make her a natural for helping to present our program to the public in an authentic and relatable manner.
Ann Kulenkamp (She/Her/Hers)
Despite growing up with a family vegetable garden, Ann has worked mostly with perennials (flowering plants, vines and tall grass) while converting most of her front yard near Como Park from lawn to garden. She is hoping to use her writing, editing and communication skills to support the Master Gardener program missions, especially inspiring change, promoting health, and being part of a group that is contributing to the larger community.
Chris Kunz (She/Her/Hers)
Chris was raised in Indianapolis by a pair of gardening parents who gave each of their daughters their own garden to tend. In addition to perennial gardening in St. Paul where she has lived for over 40 years, she enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, and travel. She is looking forward to combining Master Gardener skills with her MN Water Steward expertise and networking.
Debbie Lee (She/Her/Hers)
Debbie learned to garden through trial and error; "lots and lots and lots of error." She has the most experience with shade gardens and is looking forward to learning more. She also enjoys reading and being active outdoors.
Taylor Lee (She/Her/Hers)
From Maplewood, Taylor loves growing vegetables and also has many houseplants. As a youngster, she delighted in growing carrots in raised beds that her father built for her and her sister in their front yard. In addition to gardening, she enjoys videography, photography, anime, biking, drawing, and playing with her dogs. Taylor knew she wanted to be a gardener when she realized how good gardening made her feel both inside and out.
Viviane Leuche (She/Her/Hers)
Viviana was born in Cameroon, Central Africa and her family grew many things, like corn, plantain, coconut, avocado, lemongrass in their backyard growing up. She now lives in Saint Paul and enjoys growing herbs. She enjoys taking landscape photographs and would love to share her photography skills as a volunteer.
Julie Lindholm (She/Her/Hers)
As a kid Julie picked strawberries for her grandparents’ fruit and vegetable stand on the high
way that ran in front of their house. Today, she keeps her home in St Paul green the year around with many houseplants. Julie’s yard is filled with perennial flower beds around her home.
Laura Logsdon (She/Her/Hers)
Laura enjoys designing garden spaces in her yard. She is looking forward to expanding her knowledge about native, drought-resistant, and pollinator gardens and wants to connect with youth in the community. Outside of gardening, she enjoys reading, hiking with her dog, spending time with family, cooking, visiting breweries with friends, and traveling.
Sadie Loose (She/Her/Hers)
Sadie’s gardening passions were started in her father’s garden growing up “out in the country” of Le Sueur county (MN). After she went off to college, she recognized her “urge to grow things, keep them healthy, and ALWAYS collect more plants.” Sadie decided to join the ranks of Master Gardeners to get more involved with her surrounding community and learn from other gardeners. Now living in Roseville, her urban gardening practices also include hydroponics. Although Minnesota winters make outdoor activities difficult, the rest of the year Sadie enjoys rollerblading, hiking, volleyball, tennis, and softball.
Melissa Lorang (She/Her/Hers)
Melissa has known she was a gardener since elementary school when she told her dad that she wanted her own garden because she thought she could make one better than his. Today she loves starting plants from seed (edible or ornamental) and sharing those seedlings with friends and family. With a background as a chemical engineer, she enjoys researching things and finding solutions for problems.
Maggie Maggio (She/Her/Hers)
Maggie initially thought gardening was just “getting some seeds, putting them in dirt, and waiting.” Her gardening experience began rather morbidly pouring salt on slugs in her grandma’s garden in New York. Maggie discovered she loves vegetable gardening because it’s great to see where food comes from and understand the work that goes into producing food. Her hobbies include quilting, garment sewing, hiking, reading, cooking, and baking. Since her early Long Island days, she knows that gardening has helped her understand so much about the world and nature, and she wants to share that experience with others.
Paige McKenzie (She/Her/Hers)
Paige was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin where she helped her mother dig weeds and plant marigolds around their veggie bed. She is drawn to wildflowers and prairie gardens and is looking forward to learning about gardening through an evidence-based program and working with her community. When not in her garden, Paige can be found walking her dog and cat in her St. Paul neighborhood and researching permaculture at the public library.
Alex Meyer (She/Her/Hers)
Alex first learned gardening in her grandmother’s North Carolina garden with blueberry bushes, roses, and a vegetable garden full of okra. Five years ago she moved to Saint Paul, where she built a raised veggie bed within a week of moving in and loves growing flowers. Alex further boasts “not a single blade of grass” exists in her yard. She loves to travel, and in the winter she volunteers at local classical music organizations. Her curiosity about new plants and better ways to keep all plants healthy will guarantee she will fit right in!
Linnea Mohn (She/Her/Hers)
Linnea was looking for worms when she found iris, daffodil, and tulip bulbs. She remembers being amazed: “How do flowers come from those?!" Now she grows veggies, herbs, and perennial flowers, moving them around to find the best plant companions. She is a singer, piano player, voice actor, freestyle baker, aspiring runner, and mom to two “lovable weirdos.”
Kerry Morgan (She/Her/Hers)
Kerry was raised in Colorado where she learned to garden from her mother and maternal grandparents. She knew she was a gardener as a young adult when she found herself weeding the grounds of her apartment buildings and worrying about the family garden back home. When not tending her vegetables and native flowers, she enjoys reading, Zumba, and museums. Kerry is looking forward to learning about best gardening practices and their impact on the ecosystem as well as the interaction with others in the program.
Anneka Munsell (She/Her/Hers)
Anneka’s first garden memory is complaining about weeding in her mom’s garden. Now she loves growing edible plants and having something to share for all her efforts. She’s looking forward to chatting with other gardeners and helping people solve their problems.
Tami Noblet (She/Her/Hers)
Living in an apartment, Tami has experience with houseplants but aspires to a larger garden to grow vegetables and fruits. Tami follows her mom and sister as Master Gardener volunteers and is looking forward to meeting more people in the plant community. She’s an English language teacher professionally and is comfortable working with people from different backgrounds and navigating language barriers.
Katie Novotny (She/Her/Hers)
Katie actively spent years avoiding helping her mom in the garden but learned how to grow all the same. Her interest in gardening blossomed when she moved to a house with a small backyard with space for a "salsa" garden. Katie is an elementary teacher by trade and loves how gardening is a never ending journey where everything is an experiment.
Shandra O'Connell (She/Her/Hers)
Shandra learned to love gardening as a teenager when her stepfather filled their urban lot with a vegetable garden. Environmental science classes in college and an experience working on farm in the Mojave Desert became a motivating force to share gardening with kids and her community. She has a BFA in photography.
Molly O'Rourke (She/Her/Hers)
Molly started her gardening adventures in the raspberry and U-pick strawberry patches with her grandparents. Most of her current experience is with perennials, especially in shade. She also brings administration and managerial skills, as well as strong communication and leadership abilities. She believes participating in the Master Gardener Program will expand her knowledge and allow her to give back to the community in meaningful ways.
Ben Polzin (He/Him/His)
Ben preferred playing in the garden while his classmates were playing in the kiddie pool. He enjoys adding flowers into his gardens and won a 2nd place "My Favorite Sunflower" ribbon. He wants to continue to share knowledge with the world and volunteer in the process. He loves hiking, refinishing furniture, and cooking for friends & family.
Barbara Porwit (She/Her/Hers)
Barbara grew up in a large family on a farm in central Wisconsin where she was immersed in tending vegetables. Recently she became more interested in flowers and shrubs. She loves both the solace gardening provides and the connection to others that the Master Gardener Program will give her. Barbara loves to cook and is interested in renewable energy and sustainability and has a background in art and in working with youth.
Erin Pratt (She/Her/Hers)
Erin’s early memories in the garden were of her entomologist father pointing out insects outside their home in White Bear Lake. Now in Falcon Heights, she enjoys growing perennials, but two large and very active family dogs have prompted her to focus on container gardening. She also enjoys hiking, piano, and spending time with her husband, two sons, and the dogs. Erin finds gardening to be a very healing experience for her and her family and is eager to share this aspect of gardening with others as a Master Gardener.
Jeni Raddatz Tolifson (She/Her/Hers)
Jeni is a scenic artist who paints sets for theater. She began growing vegetables and perennials on her patio in raised beds and realized that she wanted to become a better gardener alongside like-minded people. Jeni also enjoys playing music and sewing.
Travis can’t remember a time before he thought of himself as a gardener. He enjoys mass plantings of annuals that come in waves starting with tulips in the spring. He’s looking forward to expanding his gardening friends beyond his family and neighborhood. In addition to gardening, Travis grows and propagates corals in his reef aquarium.
Chris Singer (She/Her/Hers)
Chris’s greatest interest is in growing food sources, such as fruits and vegetables, no doubt inspired by her grandmother, who was the model gardener and her parents. She is also fascinated with perennials and native plants. She has worked in the healthcare industry and loves crafting; she’s excited to use her skills to support the Master Gardener missions and community outreach efforts.
Jennifer Svien (She/Her/Hers)
Jennifer first discovered she had a lot to learn about gardening when she bought her first house in her hometown of White Bear Lake. She loves to grow everything and says, “I just love to be in the dirt!” Jennifer is looking forward to share what she knows, learn from others, and build new connections with fellow gardeners. She is also interested in reading, crafts, and travel.
Amy Thomas (She/Her/Hers)
Amy learned how to garden through trial and error, and with the help of some patient neighbors. She loves planting raised vegetables, specifically anything that can be used to make tacos, like tomatoes and peppers. She works in the performing arts world, loves cooking, and is happy to share her events management and graphic design skills.
No bio provided
Kalli Yost (She/Her/Hers)
Kalli was born in Colombia but now lives in Shoreview. She loves growing flowers, especially unique plants and wants to learn more so she can help improve our environment.