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Current Instructors

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NameBiography
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Mari Abe Mari Abe is an instructor in the Urasenke style of the Japanese tea ceremony and currently teaches a class at Hunter College, one of the few such accredited courses in the U.S. Born and raised in Tokyo, she grew up in a creative household surrounded by Japanese culture. Abe-sensei started practicing the Way of Tea under the guidance of two direct successors of the famous master Sen Riku.
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.
Enid Braun Artist Enid Braun uses urban and nature landscape imagery in mixed-media drawing, pastel, and oil. She currently teaches private figure drawing in her Brooklyn studio and has taught for the Battery Park City Conservancy, the 92nd Street Y, and Cooper Union public programs. She recently taught Adirondacks Plein Air, a five-day workshop for the Tahawus Center in Au Sable Forks, New York, and has also been a visiting artist at the San Francisco Art Institute and at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. She received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and MFA from Pratt Institute. Check out her website for more information.
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.
Myrna Caban Lezcano
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.
Sara Chana Silverstein Sara Chana Silverstein is a master herbalist RH (AHG), classical homeopath, international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC), TV personality, lecturer, author, wife, and mother of seven children. She has taught thousands of people-including pediatricians, midwives, obstetricians, and surgeons-how to integrate alternative and conventional medicines into their lives and practices. Sara Chana shows her clients how to use foods as medicine and how to successfully use herbs and homeopathy to keep themselves and their families healthy. Her fun, interactive workshops aim to impart knowledge and passion about plants and an understanding of their simple uses that empower and heal us.
Marna Chester Marna Chester is a multidisciplinary artist who creates paper installations for commercial and private clients. She has exhibited at multiple galleries and venues, including the Wild Bird Fund Gallery, Rye Arts Center, Voelker Orth Museum, the television series Gotham, and at Bergdorf Goodman. This past summer she was an artist-in-residence on Governors Island through NYC Audubon. She has taught paper sculpture workshops at Yeshiva University Museum, Rye Arts Center, Creative Center, Brooklyn Brainery, and Au Papier Japonais in Montreal. A native New Yorker, she has a BFA from Alfred University and an MPS from Pratt Institute. To see more of her work, visit marnachester.com or follow her on instagram @marna chester.
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.
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.
Gabriella Ciabattoni
Febe Daniels
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.
Sara Epstein
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.
Hester Griffin Hester Griffin is an urban farmer and gardener. Her farming experience began with internships at Brooklyn Grange and then moved to Maine to work with organic farmers Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman at Four Season Farm. Hester returned to NYC to work at Queens County Farm Museum and is currently a horticultural assistant in BBG's Discovery Garden.
Richard Haugland In the mid-1990s, Richard Haugland made a career change into horticulture after receiving a Certificate in Horticulture from BBG. He has since worked for New York City's Union Square Park, City Hall Park, and most recently the Narrows Botanical Garden, where manages the greenhouse, farm, and pollinating gardens. He has taught classes at BBG ranging from seed starting and flower gardens to lawn care.
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.
Madineyah Isaacs Madineyah Isaacs is a personal mastery and leadership coach and floral enthusiast representing Stems Brooklyn. She loves nature and helping people get back to their true nature; combining these two passions into mindfulness flower arranging was a natural step. Her 13-year career includes extensive traveling and coaching, in group settings and one-on-one, in Italy, London, the Middle East, and elsewhere.
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.
Judith Kunhardt Judith Kunhardt holds a degree in art history from the City College of New York. She is a member of the Brooklyn Watercolor Society and a fellow of the BBG Florilegium Society.
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.
Doris Loechle Doris Loechle teaches classes throughout New York City on botany and gardening, including various certificate courses in horticultural, plant identification, rooftop gardening, native plants, and proper plant usage. She has a background in design and fine metal craft as well as horticulture and has worked at various botanic gardens and estates, including Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, South Africa.
Uli Lorimer Uli Lorimer is BBG's curator of the Native Flora Garden, where he as been instrumental in expanding the garden to include a coastal plain meadow and pine barrens habitat. In his ongoing efforts to collect seed from the wild and bring to BBG rare and unusual indigenous species, Uli works to document and study the biodiversity of the NYC area. He holds an honors degree from the University of Delaware in landscape horticulture.
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.
Caitlin Marinelli Caitlin Marinelli is a holistic life coach based in Brooklyn. After completing a master's degree in social work at Columbia, she moved to India for five years, where she launched and managed two fast-growing social enterprises focused on health and environment. She also became a certified practitioner and teacher of yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, and Reiki, with a focus on the therapeutic impact of these practices. Upon returning to the U.S., Caitlin launched her integrative coaching practice to help her clients design lives with greater peace, purpose, and joy. Caitlin is also a passionate permaculture practitioner and a BBG Garden Guide.
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.
Celeste McMickle
Leda Meredith Leda Meredith is an ethnobotanist who specializes in edible and medicinal plants and sustainable food systems. She is the author of several books, including Northeast Foraging and Preserving Everything. She also writes a wild edible plants blog for Mother Earth News and posts her adventures in food and botany online at Leda Meredith: The Forager's Feast.
Eusebia Milanes
Krissie Nagy Krissie Nagy has been making and selling her whimsical kokedama at the Brooklyn Flea since April, 2013. She is also the owner of BK Bumpkin, an ecological garden design/build firm based in Brooklyn. When Krissie isn't building a garden or making a moss ball, she is usually cooking meals at home and feeding her pet worms the kitchen scraps.
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.
Maureen O'Brien Maureen O'Brien is the Greenbridge Community Field Manager.
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.
Anna Paltseva Anna Paltseva is a soil scientist at the Urban Soils Institute and Brooklyn College Analytical Center. She working toward a doctorate degree in earth and environmental science with a concentration in geology from CUNY Graduate Center, where her research focuses on urban soil contamination and bioavailability of heavy metals in urban soils. Besides at BBG, the Russian native has taught at Brooklyn College and at the New York Botanical Garden.
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.
Mari Pombo Mari Pombo is the founder of Fragmentario, a creative studio based in Brooklyn, where she uses plants to color fiber and create unique textile goods; she also offers dye services and natural dyes workshops. A fashion design graduate from Parsons School of Design and former designer at Michael Kors, Mari has been studying natural dyes independently for more than four years and has taught workshops in Italy, Spain, Germany, and New York City.
Loretta Poole Loretta Poole, who holds a BA in art and an MA in art education from Brooklyn College, has taught in many public and private institutions and has been a watercolor instructor at Brooklyn Botanic Garden since 2001. She exhibits her work throughout NYC and is a member of the Brooklyn Watercolor Society (BWS). Her work can be found on the BWS website as well as in private collections in the US, Canada, and Japan.
Rashid Poulson
Marek Pundzak
Deneen Reynolds-Knott
Nigel Rollings Nigel Rollings is a designer and builder of gardens in the New York area and has taught classes at BBG since 1995. He won the Association of Professional Landscape Designers Silver Award for residential garden design in 2006.
Adele Rossetti Adele Rossetti is the illustrator of Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Discovery Garden interpretation consoles and a fellow of the BBG Florilegium Society. She has an MFA in painting and an MS in history of art, design, and architecture from Pratt Institute. She has taught art extensively and has received numerous honors and awards, including a 2016 Fulbright Scholarship. She is also a lecturer, scientific illustrator, private art tutor, and exhibiting artist.
Valerie Striar Valerie Striar teaches and practices mindfulness meditation, following the Insight Meditation tradition. She is also a yoga teacher, choreographer, and dance and theater artist, teaching artist, and longtime lover of Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She completed her teacher training with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education for Teens, iBme, and completed the Power of Awareness training with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield. Valerie incorporates her practice of Compassionate Communication into her teaching, applying principles of nonjudgment, empathy, and understanding. Valerie has been leading seasonal walking meditation groups at the Garden since 2014. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.
Anne Walsh Anne Walsh holds degrees in art education and art history and is a member of the Guild for Natural Science Illustrators. She has taught classes at the Custer Institute, Southold L.I., Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz N.Y., as well as in private and public schools. A member of the Brooklyn Watercolor Society, she has been a BBG instructor for 30 years.
Sally Warring
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.