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Course Listing - by Instructor

Name Biography
Sam Anderson Sam Anderson is an Urban Agriculture Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension. He works with urban farmers throughout New York City, providing technical assistance and resources with an emphasis on soil management and integrated pest management. Sam?s 14 years of agricultural work also include running a half-acre market garden on Long Island and managing farmer training programs at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and at New Entry Sustainable Farming Project. Sam holds an M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University.
Damon Arrington Damon Arrington is a Landscape Designer whose work bridges science and architecture with art and community. Damon obtained a Master's in Landscape Architecture from the City College of New York where he was a scholar for the J. Max Center for Inclusion and Equity. His notable architecture projects include The Hills on Governors Island, Jamaica Bay Restoration Project and park spaces for The New York Housing Authority. His recent research and design intervention work in West Virginia's 'Chemical Valley' gained him an American Society of Landscape Architecture Honor Award. He currently teaches Landscape Design at New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx and at Cornell University.
Patrick Austin Patrick Austin is the plant propagator and nursery gardener at BBG. A former BBG propagation intern, he has an undergraduate degree in Linguistics, and is always interested in learning about how plants got their names. He has also worked at Greenbelt Native Plant Center, propagating native plant species for habitat restoration around the five boroughs.
Andres Avila Fabio Andres Avila Castillo (Andres) is a Colombian forest engineer and second year PhD student in the Biology-Plant Sciences program at CUNY. His research interests are in systematics and biogeography of neotropical vascular plants, especially in the northern South American Compositae (daisy family), and Proteales (Sabiaceae and Proteaceae [macadamia nut family]). He has worked in several botanic gardens: Bogota, Cartagena, Medellin (Colombia), and Kew (UK), in conservation, living collections, editorial work, and taxonomy.
Elise Bernhardt Elise Bernhardt led nonprofit cultural organizations for over 30 years before she “reinvented” to follow her passion for flowers and start Fleur Elise Bkln. She brings her background as a dancer/choreographer and her studies of Ikebana (Japanese floral design) to her own designs. In her teaching, Bernhardt combines her experience building teams and her love affair with flowers. Her workshops are calm, creative, collaborative, and joyous.
Monique Bosch Monique has built over 40 edible school and community gardens and farms, including a two-acre urban farm in Bridgeport Connecticut. These days she works as a soil health lead for CT NOFA, and runs a worm composting business with her son Justin. She studied the soil food web under Dr. Elaine Ingham, and teaches soil health, microscopy and “grow your own food” courses throughout the Northeast. Through microscopy and test trials, Monique explores the relationship between living soil and healthy, nutritious food.
Michael Troy Brown Michael Troy Brown is an honors graduate from the University of Florida with a bachelors in horticulture. He has accumulated extensive knowledge in the field of entomology, landscape design, tropical ornamentals, Mediterranean-climate plants, cactus, annuals, and perennials in his 20-plus years of work in the trade. Brown had the opportunity to study in Costa Rica with the University of Florida and created a design for San Jose?s Jardin Botanico Lankester. In 2006, he moved from South Florida to Southern California to immerse himself in Mediterranean climate plants and began designing at Descanso Gardens in Los Angeles, where he also lectured. He now resides in New York City where he consults and lectures.
Nancy Carey Nan Carey is a painter and potter. Her watercolors and sketchbooks are exhibited widely, and she teaches classes and workshops in watercolor painting, sketchbook journaling, and collage. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Kwok Kay Choey Kwok Kay Choey is an artist and tai chi instructor. He received his art education in Singapore, New York, and Europe and is proficient in both Chinese and Western painting. He has led painting/calligraphy workshops at the Metropolitan Museum and at the American Museum of Natural History and taught at Queens College, Westchester Community College Center for the Arts, and elsewhere. A practitioner of tai chi/qi gong for more than 50 years, he often participates in tai chi seminars in Asia and has instructor certification in Tai Chi for Arthritis from the Dr. Paul Lam Tai Chi for Health Institute. He practices the Yang style, tracing tai chi's martial arts origins while emphasizing its health benefits.
Mary Christiansen Artist Mary Christiansen taught art at the Brearley School for 29 years and has also been an instructor in botanical art at the New York Botanical Garden, where she received a certificate in botanical art. She has exhibited her work in many juried group shows, including the American Society of Botanical Artists exhibitions at the New York Horticultural Society and at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, DC. Mary's artwork can be seen at marykchristiansen.com . She is represented by Noho M55 Gallery in New York City.
Molly Culver Molly Culver is a farmer, educator, and floral designer based in Brooklyn. Her work in community food justice and farming began in the South Bronx with Just Food in 2005, and she later went on to work with many greening organizations in NYC, including GreenThumb, Earth Matter NY, and Green Guerillas. She holds a certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC-Santa Cruz and has worked as co-farm manager at the one-acre Youth Farm in Crown Heights since 2011, where she oversees crop production as well as farm education and training programs for adults. Molly is a cofounder of Farm School NYC, where she teaches growing soils and propagation courses, and runs her own sustainable floral design company, Molly Oliver Flowers.
Elena Day Elena Day is a horticulture supervisor at the Trust for Governor's Island, where she oversees the native plant restoration and ornamental plantings in the north half of the island park. Her passion is ecological horticulture, developing native ecosystems that support birds, insects, and other wildlife. She is a graduate of the New York Botanic Garden School of Professional Horticulture, and interned at Stonecrop Gardens in upstate New York. She is also a graduate of Wesleyan University, where she majored in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry.
Erin Eck Erin Eck is the director of Continuing Education at BBG and has been teaching at the Garden since 2018. Erin has a background in public horticulture and was a gardener at the High Line for nearly six years. She began her career in urban gardening as a research assistant studying soil health in NYC’s community gardens. Erin holds a Master of Environmental Science degree from the Yale School of the Environment.
Kim Eierman Specializing in ecological landscapes and native plants, Kim Eierman is a certified horticulturist through the American Society for Horticultural Science, master gardener, master naturalist, and accredited organic land care professional. In addition to BBG, she teaches at the New York Botanical Garden, the Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College (where she is also on the steering committee), and several other institutions. Kim is an active speaker on many ecological gardening topics and also provides horticultural consulting to homeowners and commercial clients.
Sara Epstein Sara Epstein manages BBG's school programs and partnerships and enjoys teaching and learning about plants with everyone.
Joseph Giunta Joseph Giunta has led bird walks for the Nature Conservancy and the South Fork Natural History Society and taught a beginning birding course for Summer Fest. He has birded extensively in the U.S., Panama, Belize, Venezuela, and Costa Rica.
Arvolyn Hill Arvolyn Hill (she/her) is a community herbalist, flower essence practitioner, and outdoor educator with a never-ending curiosity about plants and the natural world. Raised on Schaghticoke land of rural Kent, Connecticut, her love of herbalism grew after the passing of several family members due to preventable environmental illness. She studied at Twin Star Connecticut’s School of Herbalism and Energetic Studies and in 2016 opened Gold Feather, an online apothecary and flower art shop. Arvolyn is passionate about reclaiming herbalism for BIPOC communities and using herbs to build ancestral connection. She’s the manager of the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden at the New York Botanical Garden, where she creates nature-centered science-exploration activities for kids. Arvolyn can be found growing herbs at her local community garden in Harlem or sharing herbal tips on Instagram @goldfeather_ Website: goldfeathershop.com
Judith Hutton Judith Hutton has led workshops for educators at the New York Botanical Garden, Wave Hill, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the New York Hall of Science, Bank Street College of Education, and Lehman College. She has over 20 years of experience supporting educators in discovering how to use local urban nature in their classrooms.
Michelle Inciarrano Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow, both born and bred Brooklyn artists, created Twig Terrariums in 2009, utilizing their backgrounds in design, marketing, horticulture, and botany. Their creations have been in many publications and shows, including The New York Times, The Nate Berkus Show, Garden Design Magazine, and Country Living. Twig has been awarded prizes in a variety of terrarium classes at the Philadelphia Flower Show and received an Honorable Mention at the New Jersey Flower Show.
Barbara Kurland Barbara Kurland is BBG's director of Learning and Partnerships, where she manages school programs and teacher-training programs as well as partnerships with other institutions. She holds a BA from Vassar College and an MA from Lehman College, CUNY, both in biology, and before joining the Garden in 1989, she taught middle and high school science in the New York City public schools.
Will Lenihan Will Lenihan is the curator of the Native Flora Garden at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the former curator of Natural Science at the Staten Island Museum. He is a graduate of BBG's Horticulture Certificate Program and the State University of New York at Plattsburgh's Ecology program. He is also a lifelong carnivorous plant enthusiast.
Doris Loechle Doris Loechle teaches classes in botany and gardening throughout New York City, including certificate courses in horticulture, plant identification, rooftop gardening, native plants, and proper plant usage. She has also worked at various botanic gardens and estates, including Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, South Africa. In addition to horticulture, she has a background in design and fine metalcraft.
Allison Maletz Allison Maletz is a contemporary watercolor and mixed media artist, with degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design and the Slade School of Fine Art, London. She has exhibited her work widely in Europe and the U.S. She has also taught people of all ages and currently leads classes in painting, drawing, illustration, installation, and professional practices for artists at Parsons School of Design, Marymount Manhattan College, and various continuing education courses in NYC.
Evelyn Manlove Evelyn Manlove is passionate about exploring the intersection between the human environment and functional ecology. Building upon years of experience caring for and creating native plant focused residential gardens in the Philadelphia area, she found a niche for this pursuit among the horticulture staff at Brooklyn Bridge Park. As a gardener at the park, she became engaged in problem solving the challenges that emerge in this unique environment. Now, as park horticulturist, this remains among her primary responsibilities in addition to staff training and overseeing plant selection, new plantings, pruning and IPM. Evelyn is a NOFA Certified Organic Landcare Professional and holds a Certificate in Horticulture from BBG and a Certificate in Botany from NYBG. In addition to public and private gardening she has spent time in the floriculture and interior landscaping industries.
Ellen McCarthy Ellen started her career in garden education as Manager of the Family Garden at NYBG. She then spent 12 years as the Program Coordinator at Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, overseeing the children's garden and youth program there. She also coordinated the Urban Farm Project, helping develop urban farms on NYCHA property with AmeriCorps members. She has a Master's degree in education from Bank Street. Ellen loves plants and children, and she looks forward to showing you all the fun and unique plants in the garden.
Shanti Nagel Shanti Nagel is the founder of Design Wild, a landscape design firm that strongly believes the relationship between humans and the natural world is essential for individual health, the strength of communities, and the life of ecosystems. She works at the intersection of landscape design, humans, and community well-being. At the age of 20, Shanti founded an organic vegetable farm operating a CSA and market garden, an later moved from rural to urban agriculture, managing one of NYC’s largest urban farms. Shanti is a graduate of the School of Professional Horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden, a trained horticulturist, and a skilled landscape designer. For the last decade, she has dedicated herself to designing naturally wild and incredibly durable gardens in the heart of Manhattan for public space, community parks, affordable housing, and private residences. Collaborating across the country she works to develop collective vision,and foster community, and consults on farm and landscape projects to create high-functioning open space. Shanti is inspired by the magic of plants to transform the world, bring peace of mind, and guide us to a future on Earth.
Lydia Paradiso Lydia Paradiso is currently a doctoral student in a joint program between the CUNY Graduate Center and the New York Botanical Garden, where she studies conifer systematics and the spontaneous flora of New York City. She previously received a MSc in Plant Biodiversity from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. Lydia has taught at Lehman College and for NYBG's School of Professional Horticulture, and was project comanager of the NYC EcoFlora project, NYBG's community science program. She is also the current president of the Torrey Botanical Society, the oldest botanical society in the Americas.
Rhiannon Platt Rhiannon Platt is at least third-generation fiber artist. Raised by seamstresses, crocheters, and fiber artists of all kinds, she picked up her first needle almost two decades ago. Since helping her mom sew holiday decorations, Rhiannon has gone on to fabricate for Lion Brand Yarn, Shakespeare in the Park, and the Philadelphia Ballet, and teach at the New York and Brooklyn Public Libraries and 92nd Street Y. In between commissions, she finds time to embroider the nature she sees while camping with her dog, Buddy.
Isa Rodrigues Isa Rodrigues (she/her) is a textile artist and educator currently based in Brooklyn and Lagos, Portugal. She works mostly with weaving and dyeing, inspired by natural phenomenas, handmade textile processes, and sustainable materials. She is also interested in art education as a means to create community and preserve material culture. Isa is a founding team of the Textile Arts Center (TAC), where she has worked as co-executive director for the last six years. From 2010 to 2016, she developed the project Sewing Seeds, creating and activating natural dye gardens in empty lots and community gardens in Brooklyn, and she’s currently a consultant for the Pratt’s Natural Dye Garden. Isa teaches weaving, natural dyeing, and other surface design techniques at TAC, RISD, Ox-Bow, Pratt Institute, and other venues.
Carey Russell Carey Russell is a naturalist, educator, filmmaker and photographer based in New York City. He holds a master’s degree in forestry with an emphasis in landscape ecology, and is a certified interpretive guide, and a licensed guide and master naturalist in New York State. He has worked for the U.S. Forest Service, the Nature Conservancy, Discover Outdoors, and Khangi Nuruu National Park in Mongolia. Recently, he founded the Dendro Lab, a platform designed to improve the public’s relationship to nature through tree identification, which will include an online course, workshops, and podcast. As a filmmaker, he has been a frequent collaborator with director Terrence Malick (The New World, The Tree of Life); and directed and photographed the documentary series Tibetan Stories. Also a photographer, Russell recently published his first monograph, The New Arcadians, about the formative experiences of youth and nature at summer camp.
Valerie Striar Valerie Striar has led walking meditation at the Garden since 2014 with the intention of supporting our interconnection and reverence for the earth. Valerie has cultivated a longtime practice of mindfulness meditation and is certified with the Inner Strength Foundation and Inward Bound Mindfulness Education for Teens, iBme. She has completed trainings with Lama Rod Owens, Tara Brach; Jack Kornfield; Mindful Schools (the eight-week MBSR training), Compassion Cultivation Training, created at Stanford University; and yoga and trauma-informed training with The Lineage Project, among others. She has taught yoga in the Iyengar tradition for over 25 years. Valerie is also a performing dance and theater artist and is a master practitioner, facilitator, and advisor with Narrative 4, an international organization that brings people together in story exchanges to foster empathy, understanding, and connection.
Kimberly Tryba As managing partner of international landscape practice Martha Schwartz Partners, Kimberly Tryba manages the strategic planning and global business development efforts for the firm's three offices in New York, London, and Shanghai. Active in ASLA since 2012, she's a board member of ASLA-NY and chairs its Advocacy Committee; she also cochaired the 2021 and 2022 NJASLA annual meetings. Kimberly sits on the board of NYSCLA and the steering committee of the PDC?s Designing New York: Streetscapes. A 2018 MLA graduate of Rutgers University, Kimberly also teaches landscape design at the New York Botanical Garden.
Nsombi Woodson Nsombi Woodson is the founder of The Woodson Bloomery, an interactive floral art studio which teaches the artistic expression of floral design. Nsombi Woodson’s love of flowers began in childhood among the beautiful roses her grandmother grew in her Bronx backyard. Nsombi explains her artistic philosophy as “Trying very hard not to mess up what Mother Nature has given.” She loves demonstrating “the joyful, meditative, and restorative nature of floral design.” In her 20 year career, her floral designs have been featured in the Kips Bay Decorator Show House, Elle Decor Magazine, Southern Bride Magazine, Coveteur, and Architecture Digest.
Julianne Zaleta Julianne Zaleta is a professional herbalist, aromatherapist, and natural perfumer. As the proprietor of the Brooklyn-based Alchemologie Natural Perfume, she crafts artisanal and bespoke perfumes as well as aromatic and therapeutic remedies and elixirs for a wide variety of ailments. She is a certified aromatherapist as well as a licensed massage therapist and meditation teacher.