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Course Listing - by Instructor

Name Biography
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Phil Harris Phil Harris is an independent seed collector working with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank (MARSB). He collects seed from native plant populations across New York State for biodiversity conservation and to make eco-regionally adapted native plant seed available for habitat restoration. He was previously a high school science teacher, field studies coordinator, teacher-naturalist, and later, a plant propagation intern at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. After completing BBG’s Certificate in Horticulture, he worked at the Greenbelt Native Plant Center as a plant production gardener. Harris thinks growing plants is a magical experience.
Arvolyn Hill
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.
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.
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, 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. You can find her work on Instagram @tainoseedsmith
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.
Isa Rodrigues
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.
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.
Michael Stewart
Valerie Striar Valerie Striar has cultivated a longtime practice of mindfulness meditation and is certified with Ithe Inner Strength Foundation and Inward Bound Mindfulness Education for Teens, iBme. She has completed trainings with 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. Valerie currently teaches a weekly yoga and meditation class at Chan Space and is a guest teacher at the Berkeley Carroll School, where she leads high school students in mindfulness meditation practice. She is also a mentor with Access Mindfulness and volunteers at Pillars Recovery Center. Valerie is a Master Practitioner, facilitator, and advisor with Narrative 4, a national and international organization that brings people together in story exchanges to foster empathy, understanding, and connection. Valerie has taught yoga in the Iyengar tradition for over 25 years. Her classes are restorative in nature and combine imagery and visualization inspired by the natural world. Since 2014, Valerie has led seasonal walking meditation at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Valerie is also a performing dance and theater artist.
Kimberly Tryba Kimberly Tryba is associate partner at Martha Schwartz Partners, an international landscape architecture practice, where she oversees the management of the NYC office and directs business development and marketing efforts globally. A 2012 graduate of the NYBG Landscape Design certificate program, Tryba received her Master of Landscape Architecture degree at Rutgers in 2018. She has served as a guest critic at NYBG and the Harvard Graduate School of Design and is an active participant in local chapters of the American Society of Landscape Architects.