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Current Instructors

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NameBiography
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.
Jennifer Blackwell Jenny Blackwell is curator of the Discovery Garden and Early Spring Garden. Originally from Minnesota, Jenny didn't really get bitten by the horticulture bug until she moved to New York City in 2005. After working as an intern at BBG and receiving a Certificate in Horticulture in 2008, she gardened with the compost tea masters at Battery Park City Parks Conservancy before serving as project manager for BBG's NYC Compost Project for five years. She joined BBG's Horticulture staff in 2014. Jenny is passionate about ecology and soil, and her favorite ecosystem in the Discovery Garden is the meadow.
Dana Bourne Dana is an urban farmer and environmental educator based in Brooklyn, NY. Working first as a crew member at Hearty Roots Farm, bringing organic food to communities in the NYC area through a CSA model, and more recently as an environmental educator at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and GrowNYC, Dana has worked with children and adults to connect all New Yorkers to where our food comes from and the land we rely on.
Nina Browne
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.
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.
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. 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.
Molly Culver Molly Oliver Culver is a farmer, educator, and floral designer based in Brooklyn. Her work in community food justice and farming began in the South Bronx in 2005 with Just Food, and she went on to work with many greening organizations in New York City, 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 since 2011 has worked as co-farm manager at the one-acre Youth Farm in Crown Heights, where she oversees crop production as well as farm education and training programs for adults. Molly is a co-founder of Farm School NYC, where she teaches the Growing Soils and Propagation courses, and runs her own sustainable floral design company, Molly Oliver Flowers.
Jason Duverney-Gaspar Jason Duverney-Gaspar is the assistant program coordinator for BBG's Children's Garden. His passion for horticulture and education was nurtured at Longwood Gardens, where he graduated from the Professional Gardener Program. Before pursuing horticulture at BBG, Jason worked as the director of garden programs for the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum in Brooklyn.
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 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.
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.
Ronen Gamil
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 career includes extensive traveling and coaching, in group settings and one-on-one, in Italy, London, the Middle East, and elsewhere.
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.
Keiko Kitazawa Koch Keiko Kitazawa Koch is a tea ceremony instructor in the Omotesenke style. She teaches at various locations in the New York City area, including Globus Tea House, where she regularly provides lessons. She also performs tea ceremony demonstrations at schools and public spaces, including most recently at the renowned Zuiho-in (Daitoku-ji) in Kyoto.
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.
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.
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.
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 and conducts 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.
Maria Elena Pombo Maria Elena 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 workshops on natural dyes. 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.
Margarita Poulson Margarita Poulson, current Gardener of BBG's Water Garden and former curator of BBG's 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.
Rashid Poulson Brooklyn native Rashid Poulson is deputy director of horticulture at Brooklyn Bridge Park. He's also a MillionTrees Training Program alumnus, where he studied arboriculture, urban landscape design, and ecological restoration and gardened at the High Line park. His current focus is on park management, though he is still an active green roof gardener at Brooklyn Bridge Park, as well as its leading arborist.
Marek Pundzak
Cuyler Remick
Christopher Roddick Christopher Roddick is an ISA-certified arborist at BBG. He is also the coauthor of the BBG handbook The Tree Care Primer, a BBG All-Region Guide.
Carla Rodriguez
Greenest Block Winner
Heather Wolf Heather Wolf is a Brooklyn-based birder and author of Birding at the Bridge: In Search of Every Bird on the Brooklyn Waterfront. She works for Cornell Lab of Ornithology as a web developer for such sites as eBird and Birds of North America. Heather has taught birding classes at Brooklyn Brainery, given lectures for various organizations, including NYC Audubon and Brooklyn Public Library, and has led bird walks for Brooklyn Bridge Park, Washington Square Park Eco Projects, Florida Trail Association, and more. She blogs her photos at brooklynbridgebirds.com.
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.
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.