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2024 New Members

Updated: May 1

Updated 5/01/2024

The class of 2024 includes 60 new RCMG volunteers.

May Highlights

Meet members of the 2024 cohort, including new interns, Alexa Deppeler, Kathy Fryxell, Dave Gries, Linda Koopmans, Melissa Maier, and Cathy Miller.

2024 Transfers

Dee McManus


2024 Interns

Niki Blue (She/Her/Hers)

Niki Blue, born and raised in Tennessee and currently residing in the east Metro, has early memories of watching her great grandmother in the garden. Niki has a special passion for native plants and growing her own food. Joining the Master Gardener Program, Niki looks forward to creating and maintaining community gardens, as well as teaching gardening skills to both kids and seniors. Beyond gardening, she indulges in various crafts.

Jim Bull (He/Him/His)

Brian Cihacek

Dee Crust

Bryn Davis

Roberta Delfun

Alexa Deppeler (She/Her/Hers)

Alexa Deppeler first started gardening with her mom. She has developed a love for vegetable gardening but has started to appreciate flowers as well. As a Master Gardener volunteer, Alexa seeks to deepen her understanding of gardening. Apart from her green pursuits, she enjoys cooking, painting (watercolor), and photography.

Tina Dombrowski (She/Her/Hers)

Tina Dombrowski, originally from upstate NY and now in Saint Paul, learned gardening from her mother and father. Embracing a broad spectrum of plant species, Tina considers herself a horticultural generalist. She hopes to continue sharing her horticultural experience and learning from others. Outside the garden, Tina engages in reading, traveling, writing, hiking, and visiting museums.

Giselle Duchene

Sarah Eastwold (She/Her/Hers)

Sydney Ellerbe

Veronica Elling

Kathy Fryxell (She/Her/Hers)

Kathy Fryxell, although born Illinois, has deep roots in Minnesota. With a family history of home gardening, Kathy enjoys growing vegetables using organic methods and is interested in companion planting. She aspires to be part of the community through gardening and promote organic methods. Kathy thrives on hands-on projects, playing the flute, crafting, baking, and making fermented foods.

Nick Gisi

Dave Gries (He/Him/His)

Dave Gries grew up gardening and is particularly interested in pollinator plants. He seeks to enhance his knowledge of plants and engage in plant-based stewardship. Apart from gardening, he brings engineering skills and bee-keeping experience to the Master Gardener Program. He is currently working on a pollinator garden installation.

Mary Guerrero

Abby Gust (She/Her/Hers)

Jane Harrigan (She/Her/Hers)

Jane Harrigan, a life-long Ramsey County resident, fondly recalls the rose garden her mom had was while growing up. Jane enjoys creating combination perennial and annual flower gardens, along with vegetable gardening. Jane looks forward to learning best gardening practices and assisting others with their gardening questions. Outside of gardening, Jane enjoys biking, learning Pickleball, snowshoeing, and spending time with her grandchildren.

Dan Holbrook (He/Him/His)

Clare Holte (She/Her/Hers)

Clare Holte, a St. Paul resident, has a cherished first gardening memory of growing tomatoes with her mom and grandpa. Clare's gardening passion lies in heirloom vegetables and native plants. In joining the Master Gardener Program, she aims to connect with the community and fellow plant enthusiasts while deepening her knowledge. Beyond gardening, Clare enjoys reading, swimming, cooking, and spending time in the woods.

Patty Hren-Rowan

Erica Inks (She/Her/Hers)

Tim Johnson (He/Him/His)

Tim Johnson, raised in Stillwater and now living in Roseville, inherited his gardening interest from his father. Tim is passionate about growing vegetables and sharing them through cooking and eating. Tim brings his retired safety- and industrial-hygiene professional background, along with interests in golf, bridge, and hiking.

Myriam Katty (She/Her/Hers)

Myriam Katty of White Bear Lake recalls a small backyard garden from her childhood. She enjoys fruits and vegetable gardening and values living in harmony with nature. Joining the Master Gardener Volunteer Program, she aims to continue developing her gardening skills and inspire others to do the same. Beyond the garden, Myriam enjoys reading, cooking, and managing and coordinating different initiatives and projects.

Allison Keiter (She/Her/Hers)

Allison Keiter, originally from Philadelphia remembers helping her grandmother harvest in her orchard. Her gardening today focuses on urban gardening and growing vegetables. Allison looks forward to meeting fellow gardening enthusiasts and learning more. She also engages in running, listening to live music, hiking, and exploring new restaurants.

Linda Koopmans (She/Her/Hers)

Linda Koopmans cherishes early memories of hollyhocks growing in the yard. Linda enjoys native plantings or pollinators, with a focus on clean water and air. Linda aspires to gain science-based knowledge and experience. Beyond gardening, Linda enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, and volunteering at church.

Susan Lauer

Donna Long

Mackenzie Look

Melissa Maier (She/Her/Hers)

Melissa Maier, raised in California, recalls helping her grandma with a food garden, despite disliking it at the time. These days Melissa enjoys growing flowers more than food and appreciates the sustainability aspect of the Master Gardener Program. Melissa enjoys distance biking as a hobby and works in project management.

Celina McManus (They/Them/Theirs)

Cathy Miller (She/Her/Hers)

Gardening, for Cathy, is a continuous journey of learning and exploration. Cathy enjoys flower gardening, especially those attracting hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. She brings her interest from an elementary school habitat club and aims to dedicate time to pursue her gardening passion. She enjoys reading, sewing, quilting, traveling, and being with her grandchildren.

Agata Miszczyk (She/Her/Hers)

Agata Miszczyk developed an early love for gardening while spending time with her grandparents and picking wild strawberries. Agata's gardening interests include native and pollinator planting, as well as plants with healing or medicinal qualities. She is looking forward to learning from fellow Master Gardeners and contributing to her community's beauty. Beyond gardening, Agata enjoys camping, hiking, cooking, and winter activities like snowshoeing, skiing, and ice fishing.

Amanda Morcomb

Conquej —Steve —Moua

Jen Nelson

Suzie Olson (She/Her/Hers)

Suzie Olson from St. Paul acknowledges the gardening influence of her mother and grandmother. Although initially disinterested, Suzie found fulfillment in gardening as an adult. She appreciates shade gardening as her small yard is dominated by an enormous silver maple. Suzie joined the Master Gardener Volunteer Program to explore new projects and meet new people. Outside the garden, she enjoys travel, reading, and walking. The more she learns, the more she realizes how little she knows in this endless and fascinating journey. Every gardening season is a new adventure!

Olivia Peterson

Ann Pineles

Kaylan Pundsack (She/Her/Hers)

Steve Pupp

Julie Reimer

Aggie Reiners (She/Her/Hers)

Aggie Reiners, originally from Chippewa Falls (WI) and currently in Shoreview, has fond memories of her dad's huge backyard garden. She realized her own passion for gardening in 1978 when she had her own first garden. Aggie enjoys cultivating flowers (annuals, perennials, and hardy shrub roses) and vegetables, like tomatoes, beans, potatoes, carrots, and herbs. She aims to expand her gardening skills and knowledge to support others in their gardening adventures. Beyond gardening, Aggie is actively involved in volunteering at a food shelf and church, as well as pursuing drawing, painting, hiking, and reading.

Judie Ritchie (She/Her/Hers)

Judie Ritchie was born in Los Angeles but has lived in Minnesota since 1985. She has early memories of planting seeds for the elementary school garden and spending joyful hours in her grandmother's flower garden. Judie has a lot of experience growing perennial flowers, She brings her love for reading, research, teaching, and public speaking. Judie's realization that she had more to learn came the year she took a tomato branch to a local garden center and learned about proper tomato watering.

Troy Sabean

Steve Senty (He/Him/His)

Steve Senty was born and raised in the Frogtown area of St. Paul. He recalls his father's involvement in an Urban Farmer Community Garden in the late 1960s and 1970s. Steve's greatest interest lies in native pollinators, influenced by living in an association that supports them. He is keen on learning more about how to support pollinators and clean water. With mechanical and teaching abilities acquired through 20 years as a tradesperson and over 20 years teaching, Steve acknowledges his ongoing realization of the vastness of botany and the need to continuously learn.

Christopher Skelly (He/Him/His)

Christopher Skelly has early memories of helping his neighbor weed his lawn and garden. His gardening focus is on vegetable gardening and growing food. Beyond gardening, Christopher is involved in theater, roller derby, and teaching.

Chet Slipek (He/Him/His)

Chet Slipek, originally from Central WI and now in Highland Park, remembers hand weeding a large family garden on the home farm. Chet enjoys growing vegetables, especially tomatoes! He seeks to learn more about gardening and vegetable production, particularly in an urban environment. Engaging in most outdoor activities, traveling, and meeting new people, Chet strongly believes in lifelong learning.

Amy Sponaugle

Jo Sullivan (She/Her/Hers)

April Swinson (She/Her/Hers)

Kelly Tolbert (She/Her/Hers)

Kelly Tolbert has childhood memories of working in her grandpa's garden. Her favorite gardening activity is vegetable gardening. She looks forward to making gardening more accessible to the community. Professionally working in the tech industry, Kelly is ready to share her skills. Although identifying as a gardener since childhood, Kelly realizes she still has much to learn with each passing year of gardening.

Joe Van Thomme

Keni Vargas

Gregg Vogel (He/Him/His)

Gregg Vogel, originally from Denmark (WI), remembers clearing pigweed flourishing in the manure-rich soil of his mom's garden. He became a gardener in his own right when his dad handed over all responsibilities of the garden. With an interest in trees, vegetables, and fruits, Gregg looks forward to utilizing his agrarian background in the Master Gardener Volunteer Program. He brings engineering expertise from a metallurgical engineering degree and work experience since 1984.

Liz Wahlberg (She/Her/Hers)

Liz Wahlberg learned gardening through trial and error, primarily dealing with clay, rock, and shade. Liz loves native plants and looks forward to gardening as part of a team in the Master Gardener Program. Liz realized she had more to learn when creeping bellflower invaded areas cleared of buckthorn.

Laurie Wenker

Timothy Wood (He/Him/His)

Timothy Wood learned to garden in elementary school with his brother. Timothy enjoys vegetable gardening, gardening for pollinators, and has a strong desire to learn bog gardening, with experience in orchards. Engaging in the intersection of garden education and activism, Timothy spent four years interning on an organic seed production farm. Each new subject learned opens more doors of opportunity for Timothy.

Eva Zorn


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