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Current Instructors

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NameBiography
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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.
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 Myrna Cabán Lezcano is a queer Boricua herbalist, educator, and cultural organizer. Myrna studied spiritual herbalism through Sacred Vibes Apothecary. She also completed a year-long yoga and healer training through the Shambhala Yoga & Dance Center and has participated in the urban gardener program at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Myrna is the founder of Casitas Wisdom, a healing arts collective that organizes events honoring the legacy of casitas and the spirit of home 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.
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. Her work has been exhibited at the Wild Bird Fund Gallery, Rye Arts Center, Voelker Orth Museum, on 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. 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. 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.
Gabriella Ciabattoni Bella is the Pier 6 Outboard Gardener at Brooklyn Bridge Park. She is a graduate of the BBG Horticulture Internship program, where she worked and studied specifically in the Native Flora Garden. Before pursuing horticulture, she spent several years in invasive species management, working in woodlands and marshlands across the Northeast. Her botanical interests include garden design and economic botany.
Febe Daniels
Sara Epstein Sara Epstein coordinates Project Green Reach, Brooklyn Botanic Garden's botanical science outreach program to Brooklyn schools. She loves teaching and learning about plants with people of all ages.
Hester Griffin Hester Griffin is an urban farmer and gardener. She began farming as an intern 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 switched his career to 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 he 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 career includes extensive traveling and coaching, in group settings and one-on-one, in Italy, London, the Middle East, and elsewhere.
Doris Loechle Doris Loechle teaches classes in botany and gardening throughout New York City, including certificate courses in horticulture, plant identification, rooftop gardening, native plants, and proper plant usage. She has also worked at various botanic gardens and estates, including Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, South Africa. In addition to horticulture, she has a background in design and fine metalcraft.
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 US, 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.
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 and conducts 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 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.
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.
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.
Sally Warring Sally Warring is a biologist and a science communicator based in New York City. The New Zealand native has a PhD in genomics and molecular biology from New York University and is currently a postdoctoral research scholar at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
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.