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2023 Board of Directors

The RCMG Board of Directors consists of an elected chair, vice chair, secretary, treasurer, and up to three other Board members, along with one non-voting member, the Program Coordinator for Ramsey County, as hired by the University of Minnesota Extension.

This group is responsible for managing the affairs of the Ramsey County Master Gardener 501c3 nonprofit corporation, handled by resolution. The chair and vice chair each shall serve one year in each position beginning with the vice chair. Terms of office for other positions shall be two years.

The 2023 Board of Directors were elected by RCMG volunteers at the November 2022 monthly meeting. There was a board transition between November-December 2022 and the new Board term begins in January 2023.

The Board of Directors meets regularly during the year. All volunteers are invited to attend these public meetings.

Board Chair

Sandy McDonald

Sandy joined the Master Gardener program in 2018, and it was something she had been looking forward to doing for quite a while. She credits her grandmother with getting her interested in gardening, and it was her grandmother who gave Sandy her first plant when she was 5.

She has a small urban yard in St. Paul where she tries a bit of everything, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. Her favorite part of being a Master Gardener is all of the terrific people she gets to meet. In 2022, Sandy joined the RCMG Board as Vice Chair, and will serve as RCMG Board Chair in 2023. She hopes to continue revising out-of-date program documentation with the support of other Board members.

Vice Chair

Julie Bechtold

Julie lives in Roseville on a half-acre that she is converting from a neglected dirt bike track to a space bursting with natives, perennials, and vegetables. She loves learning about houseplant propagation and alternative growing mediums.

As a Master Gardener intern in 2022, Julie joined the Communications Committee, wrote for the Healing Gardens project, and participated in the Speakers Bureau, plant sale, seed trials, and farmers markets. Julie has experience working in a variety of business functions including financial management, technology implementation, website administration, and writing. She looks forward to serving on the board to encourage communication, keep operations running smoothly, and expand our community outreach efforts.


Gretchen Hesli (2nd term)

Gretchen joined RCMG when she was close to retirement and could devote the necessary time to the organization. She has particularly enjoyed working at the farmers markets, the Barn Gardens, and a Habitat for Humanity project, as well as serving on the RCMG Board. “Not only is the program an amazing opportunity to gain horticulture knowledge and share it with the public, but it’s also a place to make wonderful friends!”

Gretchen grew up on a farm in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, the oldest of what would eventually be nine children. “Gardening was a chore and necessity to feed our large family. I can’t say I enjoyed it! It wasn’t until I had a home and yard of my own that I found the joy that accompanies being outdoors, communing with nature, working in the soil, and seeing the results of my efforts. Soon I was hooked!”


Kathy Passe (interim treasurer 2022)

Kathy joined the Master Gardener program as an intern in 2020. One of her favorite volunteer activities is growing a variety of tomatoes and peppers from seed for the annual plant sale. Each spring her basement is transformed into a massive indoor greenhouse.

Kathy lives in Highland Park, where her small urban yard is perfect for hosting a pollinator perennial garden. In the summer, her deck and patio are overrun with many containers for growing vegetables. In March 2021, Kathy stepped in as interim treasurer for RCMG and realized it was a perfect fit for her interests in finance and accounting. During the winter and early spring, she also volunteers as a tax aide counselor for the AARP Foundation Tax Aide program.

New Member Committee

Judie Ginter (Chair)

Judie joined the Master Gardener program in 2019. She lives in White Bear Lake where she grows native plants and vegetables, many of which she starts from seed in her basement. Some of these plants are donated to the RCMG annual plant sale, and others are given to the Barn Gardens, and to friends and relatives.

Judie’s grandchildren love exploring her gardens and running on her garden paths. She enjoys staying involved in a variety of RCMG volunteer projects, including hands-on activities with kids, the barn gardens and Habitat for Humanity.

Karen Randall (Co-chair)

Karen grew up in a family that gardened and she loves growing vegetables, fruit, and flowers at her home in Saint Paul. She also hosts a cooperative community garden with a neighbor. She joined the Master Gardener program in 2021 as a retirement project after working 33 years for Saint Paul Public Schools. Kathy’s favorite RCMG activities have included teaching with the Speakers Bureau and facilitating the Arts-Us garden renovation.

Education Committee

Jane Carlstrom (Chair)

Jane grew up in southern Minnesota where she and her siblings spent much of their time as "free-range" children wandering and playing in the woods and ravines at the edge of town. Though she loves to dig in her shade garden in the spring, she admits to losing some of her enthusiasm for gardening when the mid-summer heat and humidity kick in.

Her favorite volunteer activities involve restoration projects in wild woodland areas or near lakes and streams. She has been with the RCMG program since 2012 and a University of Minnesota Tree Care Advisor since 2014.

Simba Blood (Co-chair)

Simba’s gardening career began as unwilling labor in her mother’s extensive organic gardens, where she says she learned a lot about weeds. “Aside from assisting my folks at the farmer’s market, I avoided gardening ventures until I began working at the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District. Unsurprisingly, water management is intimately connected to plant life, and my early weed education proved useful in native plant restoration.”

Over the past 23 years, Minnesota native plants have become Simba’s passion and the gateway to her ongoing fascination with landscapes, both natural and intentional. Collaboration with amazing RCMG volunteers galvanized her to join the program in 2017. Simba seeks to learn from, and be inspired by, other volunteers. She plans to help provide opportunities to expand knowledge and understanding while drawing more folks into our community of plant fans.

Communications Committee

Stacy Sola (Chair)

Stacy’s grandparents and father were farmers and gardeners. She spent time with her grandfather, also a Master Gardener, at the local farmers market where he completed most of his volunteer hours. Stacy focuses on promoting a wildlife, pet, and pollinator-friendly environment in her gardens. She joined the Master Gardener program and the RCMG Communications Committee in 2021. Stacy has degrees in Art and Communication, and a graduate degree in Business. As co-chair of the Communications Committee, she is leading efforts to promote RCMG programs and brings design, photography and video production capabilities to the team.

Nanette Boudreau (Co-chair)

Nanette grew up in northern Minnesota helping to plant and tend a large garden that provided most of the vegetables for her family of seven. Her garden in the North End contains mostly perennials and natives. She joined the Master Gardener program in 2010 and previously served on the board as New Member chair. She has extensive background in healthcare Communications and Marketing. Leading the launch of the Communications Committee in 2020, Nanette developed a team of Master Gardener volunteers to help increase RCMG visibility on social media and in the community.


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