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Current Instructors

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NameBiography
Karen Bell Karen Bell holds an MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. In addition to BBG, she has taught photography at the New School, the International Center of Photography, FIT, and Seton Hall University. Her photographs have been exhibited and collected throughout the U.S., including the Brooklyn Museum, the New York Public Library, and Ellis Island Museum.
Dana Bourne
Rebecca Bullene Rebecca Bullene is a botanical designer specializing in both interior and exterior landscapes. She is the founder of Greenery NYC one of the leading urban horticultural design companies in NYC.
Bibi Calderaro Bibi Calderaro (bibicalderaro.com) is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary conceptual artist and researcher whose practice takes the form of walks, presentations, sensorial workshops, and other forms of engagement as well as drawings, artistic and academic writing, and reading in an expanded and collaborative way. Her participatory sensorial walks and other projects have been presented widely. She holds a master's in Sustainability Science and Education from the Graduate Center CUNY, an MFA from CUNY Queens College, and a BFA from Wesleyan University. She is a certified Nature and ForestTherapy Guide (ANFT) and is a trained Leave No Trace Leader (Wesleyan University, CT).
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.
Zara Castany Zara Castany is the lead wedding designer and bridal consultant at Stems Brooklyn. She has a background in anthropology and film studies and was educated at Columbia University and FlowerSchool New York. She spends her free time writing, practicing tarot, and indulging her interest in 19th-century dressmaking.
Ember Chabot Ember Chabot has a master's degree in entomology from the University of Illinois, where she completed a research project in molecular ecology using DNA sequencing techniques to inform the reintroduction of an endangered aquatic insect species. She has also worked professionally as a scuba diver to control an invasive aquatic plant species in lakes across New York State. In addition to BBG, she works as a full-time educator at a private high school in Brooklyn.
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. He has also practiced tai chi/qi gong for more than 50 years and often participates in tai chi seminars in Asia. He has recently received his certification for instructing 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.
Joanne D'Auria Joanne D'Auria is School Workshop Coordinator at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She has developed and facilitates the Seasonal Highlights Memory Tour for visitors with dementia and their caregivers. She has a Horticultural Therapy Certificate from NYBG and holds an undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College in Fine Arts and Education. She is a member of the Mid Atlantic Horticultural Therapy Network, NYCMER and American Horticultural Therapy Association.
Erin Eck Erin Eck is a Horticulture Supervisor at Friends of the High Line where she also writes the horticulture blog, Gardening in the Sky. She also designs gardens for OP/A, a Brooklyn-based architectural design firm. Before joining the High Line in 2013, Erin worked as a research assistant, studying soil health in NYC community gardens. She continues to be deeply interested in soil health and its impact on plant health.
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 landcare professional. She teaches at the New York Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic 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. Her website is Ecobeneficial.
Greg Frux A native of Brooklyn, artist Gregory Frux draws inspiration from both urban and wilderness landscapes. His cityscapes explore parks and gardens as well as industrial sites, and his wilderness work derives from are a lifetime of trekking internationally. He has been artist in residence in four national parks and worked as shipboard artist in north and south polar regions. His work is in the collections of Library of Congress, American Mountaineering Museum, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, NYC Department of Education, and National Park Service. Greg has also been an instructor at the Art Students League.
Pauline Green
Michelle Hines
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.
James Johnson
Mimi Jorling Mimi Jorling is one of BBG's librarians where, among other library duties, she answers the Plant Info Line. She is a horticulturist with over 20 years' experience working in public parks and residential gardens and has an interest in medicinal plants.
Paul Keim Paul Keim, who holds a BFA from Pratt Institute, is a full-time printer and colorist and an avid birdwatcher and naturalist. He belongs to the Brooklyn Watercolor Society and the Brooklyn Bird Club, where he has served as president.
Will Lenihan Will Lenihan is an assistant gardener 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.
Phil Macaluso Phil Macalusco is an assistant gardener at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. A graduate of the Horticulture internship and certificate program at BBG, Phil has worked for four years on the Garden's ground crew. Before joining BBG, he worked for two years as a gardener in the conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden. His major interest is sustainable maintenance of public green spaces in urban environments.
Katy Maslow 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.
Wendy McKenzie Wendy McKenzie holds a Certificate in Floral Design from BBG and is a certified feng shui consultant. The creation of Feng Shui Florals and her work as a floral designer are informed by Buddhist philosophy as well as by her practices in social work and feng shui.
Robert Moss Robb Moss is a freelance florist and floral instructor at BBG and the New York Botanical Garden and also teaches classes for local gardeners and social clubs.
Janis Napoli After receiving her degree in horticulture, Janis Napoli spent the first part of her career working in nurseries in South Jersey, learning about ornamentals species up close. After completing a BBG Horticulture internship, she joined the staff as an assistant gardener. She is currently the horticulture supervisor for Prospect Park, where she works in the ornamental areas of the park and oversees a small, hardworking team of gardeners. Janis has been gardening her entire life and loves to be outdoors.
Adam Negrin Adam Negrin is a PhD candidate at Lehman College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, where he is working on the phytochemistry of Theobroma cacao and caffeine-containing Ilex species.
Elizabeth O'Reilly Elizabeth O'Reilly received her MFA from Brooklyn College and her B.Ed from the National University of Ireland. She has received numerous residencies and awards, is the subject of a documentary, Ealaiontóir Thar Sáile (An Artist Abroad), and is represented at George Billis Gallery in New York. She has taught at The New School for Social Research, Pratt Institute, and Brooklyn College as well as private workshops out of her studio in Brooklyn.
Cheryl Paswater Cheryl Paswater is a Brooklyn-based certified fermentationist , educator, and health coach, who after a near-death experience turned to holistic medicine for help. After radical diet and lifestyle changes, she started teaching fermentation, old-world food preservation, healthy eating, sustainable food, and holistic health. She runs a popular fermentation project and CSA called Contraband Ferments.
Irene Pease Irene Pease, aka the Friendly Neighborhood Astronomer, enjoys sharing views through her telescopes to passersby on busy sidewalks and under darker skies in Prospect Park. In addition to astronomizing around Brooklyn, she teaches physics at York College, CUNY, and produces the Hayden Planetarium video blog, Skylight. Irene is a frequent presenter and cohost of Astronomy on Tap NYC and a presenter for Hayden Planetarium's Astronomy Live series.
Dawn Petter Dawn Petter teaches classes about the art of plant-based healing with the aim of making herbs and herbal medicine applicable to people's daily lives. She incorporates her training from Arbor Vitae School of Traditional Herbalism with her natural creative flare. In addition to teaching, Dawn works as a herbalist and flower-essence practitioner, leads herb walks, and runs an online apothecary shop called Petalune Herbals.
Margarita Poulson Margarita Poulson, BBG's curator of interior displays and Washington Avenue gardens, makes unique jewelry pieces using botanical materials, a passion she discovered and embraced as a Horticulture intern at BBG. She draws inspiration from the cultural traditions, folklore, and natural history of the seeds, bark, stems, and flowers she incorporates into her work. Margarita enjoys sharing and exploring her craft while teaching the Art of Botanical Jewelry Making at BBG and NYBG.
James Russell James Russell has been leading courses at BBG since 2000. In addition to service at public gardens including the High Line, the Battery Conservancy, and the Prospect Park Zoo, he has worked with prestigious design firms in NYC and now creates gardens for select clients. He earned his BBG Certificate in Horticulture in 1998.
Teddy Tedesco
William Wallace William Wallace is the curator of the Cranford Rose Garden. His horticultural career began with an internship at BBG in 2000 and returned to the Garden in 2015 in his current role. William continues to develop ways to maintain the Cranford Rose Garden as close to no-spray and organic as possible.
Nathaniel Whitmore Nathaniel Whitmore grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and began harvesting wild medicinal herbs as a teenager. He is well known as an expert forager and has been teaching about wild plant and mushroom identification for over 15 years. He practices shiatsu (acupressure) and herbal medicine at Worker Bee Community Acupuncture in Milford, Pennsylvania, where he is helping to develop a domestically sourced Chinese herbal apothecary. He also practices and teaches in several locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, including at ArborVitae School of Traditional Herbalism.
Brittany Wienke Brittany Wienke is a Brooklyn-based beekeeper. She learned the basics during a season-long intensive course on beekeeping at the Brooklyn Grange, and since then has kept bees on skyscrapers in midtown Manhattan, rooftop farms, and in Brooklyn community gardens. She is a beekeeper for Best Bees and teaches a beekeeping course at a community garden in Ditmas Park. She also works at the Rainforest Alliance, an international environmental nonprofit, where she manages North American communications and media outreach.
Travis Wolf
Rachael Wren Rachael Wren is a painter whose work includes elements of both landscape and geometric abstraction. She has exhibited her paintings widely and has received numerous awards and residencies. Rachael has taught workshops at Wave Hill and the Art Students League, as well as all levels of drawing and painting classes at several universities. She has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from the University of Washington. Her work can be seen at rachaelwren.com
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.