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Current Instructors

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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.
Lauren Bell
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.
Nina Browne
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.
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 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.
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.
Ashley Gamell Ashley Gamell has devoted her career to sharing her passion for plants with others and catalyzing a deeper connection with nature for kids, adults, and kids at heart. She has a decade of experience in horticulture, education, and exhibit development at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and has also taught at the New York Botanical Garden and Brooklyn Brainery. She now works from the Hudson Valley as a freelance writer, educator, and consultant.
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.
Winston Huggins Winston Huggins is an artist, teacher, media designer, and creator of the Medgar Evers College/CUNY course Introduction to World Art. He offers workshops from his Optimalart Creative Education Program, which was awarded a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts to promote creative learning, intercultural art, and studio art. He has exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, Lever House, National Gallery of Jamaica, and is inventor of the Ezpal Art Studio.
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.
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.
Josie Lawlor Josie Lawlor is a horticulturist with a degree in plant ecology and 20 years of diverse gardening experience, from roof gardens in NYC to native restoration plantings in Yucatán, Mexico. She also compiles field guides and plant inventories for land management.
Mei Mei Lee
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Elsbeth Pancrazi Elsbeth Pancrazi is the author of Full Body Pleasure Suit (2017), published by Tavern Books in the Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series. She has studied poetry at Vassar College and NYU, and her writing has earned her fellowships from Caldera Arts and Poets House. She lives in Boerum Hill and works as BBG's manager of Institutional Funding.
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.
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.
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.
Cathy Quinlan Cathy Nan Quinlan is an artist and gardener living in Brooklyn who draws extensively from nature. She is a graduate of the Art Academy of Cincinnati. Her work has been shown at numerous New York galleries including Valentine Gallery, Studio 10, Parallel Art Space and Outlet Fine Arts. She is the founder and curator of The 'temporary Museum of Painting and has written art criticism for The Brooklyn Rail and Art Critical. Click here to view her work.
Cuyler Remick
Alisha Rodriguez Alisha Rodriguez is a Brooklyn-based textile and fiber artist who since 2014 has been working in weaving, crochet, and macramé. She has taught macramé workshops all over Brooklyn.
Carla Rodriguez
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.
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.
Valerie Striar Valerie Striar has taught yoga in the Iyengar tradition for 20 years to students of all ages and ability. She presently teaches at the Yogasana Center for Yoga in Brooklyn, NY. Alongside a life-long career in dance and choreography, Iyengar yoga has inspired her interest in visualizing and experiencing anatomy in motion. Valerie incorporates her practice of Compassionate Communication into her teaching, applying principles of non-judgement, empathy and understanding. Valerie teaches classes and workshops which are inspired by the mindfulness practices and teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, Tara Brach, and Jon and Myla Kabot-Zinn. Valerie lived across the street from BBG for many years, thus beginning her love of walking through the beautiful natural landscape here in Brooklyn.
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.
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.
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.