Our Instructors
Our Instructors

Our Instructors

Bobbi Angell, artist, has been dissecting and drawing plants for botanists from New York Botanical Garden, Harvard University and elsewhere around the world for 40 years. Much of her work is done from herbarium specimens but tropical field work and extensive gardening at her home in Vermont contribute to her diverse knowledge of plants and enhance her depictions of native, cultivated and exotic plants.

Irene Brady Barber coordinates the Horticultural Therapy and Adult Horticulture Education Programs at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. An experienced educator, Irene has degrees in Communications: Human Behavior and Horticulture along with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. Irene’s passion in horticulture education places emphasis on ecological balance, therapeutic design and universal access to gardening for people of all abilities.

Beth Bisson is the Associate Director for the Maine Sea Grant Program at the University of Maine. She provides leadership and support for the program’s research, extension, and communications activities, and serves as a liaison to the program’s diverse partners and constituents in Maine and across the National Sea Grant Network. She guides the program’s citizen science and workforce development initiatives in partnership with Sea Grant and UMaine Cooperative Extension staff and partners.

Andy Brand is the Plant Curator at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Prior to joining the staff in 2018, he was the nursery manager at Broken Arrow Nursery for over 20 years, where he and his colleagues specialized in growing rare and unusual plants. Andy is an avid naturalist and has focused on the interaction of the insects and native plants of New England. He is a cofounder and past President of the Connecticut Butterfly Association and is also past President of the Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association. He speaks to groups throughout the Northeast on a range of topics including native plants, new and unusual ornamentals, butterfly gardening, and butterflies of Connecticut and their life histories.

Lynette Breton, who has designed in wood for over 35 years, started making the Heirloom Flower Press as a tool to inspire creativity in others. With a belief that nature is the ultimate designer, she began collecting and pressing with a focus on patterns, unseen details and the stand-alone beauty that exists in the plant world and is accentuated through flower pressing. She has presented flower pressing as an art form to garden clubs and plant enthusiasts throughout the state.

Will Bridges, CMBG staff horticulturist, holds a bachelor’s degree in landscape horticulture from the University of Maine and has been gardening in Maine most of his life. Will has been working at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens since 2009. He and his wife, Dotti, live on a six-acre slice of heaven in Alna with their golden retriever, Lily.

Syretha Brooks is a horticulturist at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. A graduate of Smith College, and formerly a horticulturist at New York City’s Wave Hill Gardens, she is thrilled to be back in her home state of Maine and working at the Gardens here, where she uses her fine art background and horticulture chops to design and maintain our gardens, including the Great Lawn beds and the Perennial and Rose Garden.

Lisa Cowan, principal of Studio Verde in Cumberland, Maine and Austin, Texas, is a nationally recognized landscape architect with expertise in ecology-based planning, landscape design and land management. Her work exemplifies a lifelong interest in the restoration of nature’s systems and community engagement in the natural world. Lisa was featured in Landscape Architecture Magazine for her pioneering work as a landscape architect in ecological design and wetland restoration.

Bill Cullina, current president and CEO at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, previously served as Director of Horticulture for the Gardens and, before that, as nursery director for the New England Wild Flower Society. He is a well-known author and recognized authority on North American native plants. He lectures on a variety of subjects to garden and professional groups and writes for popular and technical journals. His books include Wildflowers; Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines; Understanding Orchids; Native Ferns, Mosses, and Grasses; and most recently, Understanding Perennials.

Melissa Cullina is the Research Botanist for Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Formerly a botanist with the Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Cullina specializes in aquatic and coastal botany, field identification and rare species conservation.

Mary DeLano is a multi-lingual fiber artist who loves eco printing, natural dying, stitching, wool applique, and rug making. Mary enjoys sharing her passion for fiber arts with new students. She teaches throughout New England, including at Maine Fiber College, where she also serves on the organizing committee.

Jen Dunlap is a horticulturist at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens where she spends her time cultivating the Bibby and Harold Alfond Children’s Garden. A native of Brunswick, Maine, she has a degree in horticulture and landscape design and holds a certificate in Western Herbal Medicine. After gardening in the Pacific North West and Colorado for a combined 12 years, she is happily settled back in Maine raising her young son alongside a bountiful vegetable and herb garden.

Ted Elliman has been engaged in botanical work in New England and other northeastern states for more than thirty years. Most recently, he was a botanist and plant ecologist on the staff of the New England Wild Flower Society in Framingham, Massachusetts, where he conducted botanical inventories, natural community surveys, invasive species control programs, and helped publish Wildlfowers of New England.

Gary Fish is the State Horticulturalist at the Main Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. He is a past coordinator of the Maine YardScaping Partnership and manager of the Pesticide Control Board. He has a B.S. in Forest and Wildlife Management from the University of Maine, College of Forest Resources and has been a licensed professional forester since 1985. An aspiring landscape and nature photographer, he attributes his love of plants to his mother and her beautiful rose and rock gardens.

Marjorie Glick is known for her vivid realism watercolors inspired by the beauty found in nature. She has been painting and teaching for 30 years and has exhibited at several regional museums and galleries. She leads plein air workshops in Maine, Italy, and in Monet’s Garden. She holds a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art.

Tracey Hall is an Environmental Educator for the Boothbay Region Land Trust and a Certified Forest Therapy Guide with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy. An avid naturalist since childhood, she leads walks year-round throughout the Boothbay Region with the goal of connecting people to the outdoors.

Amy Holt, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ Writer/Editor, is an herbalist, E-RYT 500-certified yoga instructor, and author of Herbal Goddess: Discover the Amazing Spirit of 12 Healing Herbs with Teas, Potions, Salves, Food, Yoga, and More. With a fierce love for wild spaces and a fierce need to figure everything out for herself, Amy began studying yoga and the healing qualities of herbs when she was nineteen years old. Now, after nearly two decades of practice, Amy maintains the unshakable belief that natural means are essential to our own empowerment. She is a frequent guest-lecturer at various conferences, such as the Mother Earth News Fair, and a freelance contributor to a number of natural health publications. She can be found online at ThisQuietEarth.com.

Erika Huber is the Youth and Family Program Coordinator for Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. She holds degrees in Forestry and Horticulture and has over ten years of experience working with children in environmental and gardening education.

Hannah Ineson of Damariscotta, is a member of the Pemaquid Gallery in Bristol, Maine, and a faculty member of Marco Island Center for the Arts in Florida. For over 15 years she has taught Watercolor Journaling, a technique requiring simple drawing, painting and lettering skills that adapts to any experience level.

Shawn Jalbert is the steward of the Harvey Butler Rhododendron Sanctuary in Springvale (under the sponsorship of the New England Wild Flower Society). He consults on landscape restoration and propagates native plants at his wholesale nursery, Native Haunts, in Alfred, Maine.

Karen Jones is the Camp Coordinator for the Gardens. Karen brings with her over ten years of teaching experience working with children of all ages. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Math/Science with a concentration in Early Childhood Education and a master’s degree in Leadership and Policy in Early Childhood Education, both from Wheelock College. She currently teaches First Grade at Hall-Dale Elementary.

Ann Kearsley RLA, MLAUD is a landscape architect and urban designer and owner of Ann Kearsley Design in Portland, ME. She specializes in ecologically-based landscape design, linking landscape form and spatial structure to the dynamics of a site’s natural systems. Her work ranges from public parks and urban plazas to private residential gardens and includes numerous public and private landscapes for art. She is on the faculty of Northeastern University’s Urban Landscape Architecture program.

June LaCombe is an independent arts consultant specializing in sculpture by New England artists. She curates and sites exhibitions of sculpture in Maine and oversees sales, delivery, siting, and installations for clients throughout the country. For 28 years her exhibitions have explored themes that forge the connections between art and nature. In 2005 June LaCombe curated the first sculpture exhibition at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens titled Sculpture for this Animate Earth. www.junelacombesculpture.com

Anna Leavitt is a horticulturist and the Gardens Aglow design coordinator here at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, where she currently maintains the Cleaver Event Lawn and Gardens. She graduated with a degree in Environmental Science from Colby College, and has been living in Boothbay ever since.

Katie Lee earned a certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration from the New York Botanical Garden, where she has taught for the past 22 years. An award winning botanical and wildlife artist, she has illustrated several books, and her work is featured in museum collections and exhibitions around the world.

Kristen Lindquist lives in her hometown of Camden, Maine. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Oregon and enjoyed many summers at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Her poetry and other writings have appeared in Down East Magazine, Bangor Metro, and the Bangor Daily News, as well as many literary journals and anthologies. Her poetry collection Transportation was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award; Garrison Keillor read three poems from the book on National Public Radio’s The Writer’s Almanac. An avid birder, she is on the board of the Merryspring Nature Center in Camden. She has written a natural history column for the local paper for many years and maintains a daily haiku blog, Book of Days.

Erin MacGregor-Forbes is an EAS Certified Master Beekeeper. She and her business partner Cindy Bee manage 150+ colonies Portland and Jefferson, Maine for honey and nuc production. Erin focuses her teaching on sustainable bee management, IPM strategies, and overwintering nucleus colonies. Erin’s passion is working with the bees own instincts and behaviors to create thriving colonies, and communicating those concepts to the human beekeepers and bee lovers.

Frederica Marshall, Master Brush Painter, artist, teacher and researcher, lived in Japan for 28 years. There she studied Asian brush painting for ten years. Now a Master Brush Painter, she has exhibited and won awards in more than 80 group shows and 24 solo shows in Japan and the US.

Kyle Martin is a Ph.D. candidate and pollination biologist/chemical ecologist in the Department of Plant Biology at Cornell University. His current work explores how deceptive flowers in diverse plant lineages have evolved sophisticated mimicry strategies to deceive their pollinators. Originally from western Maine, Kyle received his B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of New England where he studied induced chemical defenses in intertidal seaweed. Kyle is fascinated by the unique flora and diverse natural ecosystems of Maine and enjoys sharing this appreciation with others through public outreach and education.

Dr. Jeff Matranga is a psychologist specializing in health psychology, the interaction of health with behavioral and emotional variables. He teaches meditation regularly to his clients as an important adjunct to treatment. He initiated and facilitates a free weekly meditation circle at School Street Yoga in Waterville. Dr. Matranga was Director of Psychology at what is now MaineGeneral Medical Center from 1991 to 1998. He served as president of the Maine Psychological Association (2012 & 2013). In 2010, Dr. Matranga was named Teacher of the Year by the graduating Family Practice Residents from the Maine-Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency program.

Heather McCargo, the founder and director of the Wild Seed Project, is an educator with 30 years of expertise in plant propagation, landscape design and conservation. She was the head plant propagator at the New England Wildflower Society’s Garden in the Woods in the 90’s, worked at several landscape architecture/planning firms specializing in ecological design, has been a contributor to several research projects with USAID, National Gardening Association, and with MOFGA. She has lectured nationally and is widely published in journals and magazines such as Horticulture, Taunton Press and American Nurseryman.

Vanessa Nesvig, interpretation and exhibits coordinator at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, is a both an artist and garden writer. Having taught pastel and oil painting for over ten years, Vanessa brings a love of being outdoors and experience helping people translate the visual outdoor world. Coming to the Gardens from the Portland Museum of Art, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Art History from Boston University and is a professional painter who has exhibited widely throughout New England.

Justin Nichols has been enthusiastically maintaining landscapes since 1989, including many years as a gardener on a 30-acre estate in the Boston area and six years here at CMBG on the horticulture staff. He currently runs an ecologically-focused landscape and design business based in the Portland area. He is a NOFA Certified Organic Landcare Professional, holds a master’s degree in education and enjoys teaching horticultural topics to people of all ages.

Ronn Orenstein began his career in New York City, and his award winning studio work spans more than 30 years. He has written various articles for publications such as Photo District News and Studio Photographer Magazine. Ronn has taught photography at all levels and spent 14 years as Director of Photography for the Hartz Mountain Corporation.

Hillary Parker is a naturalist and international award winning botanical watercolor artist with paintings exhibited and sold worldwide. She enjoys a dual painting and teaching career spanning 30 years, including requests for private and public watercolor commissions, juried international exhibitions, lectures, workshops, ongoing botanical art classes, private art instruction, online private art classes, corporate art events, and solo & group shows with botanical gardens and art galleries

Deb Perkins is a wildlife ecologist with 25 years’ experience in her field and a lifelong commitment to wildlife conservation. Before settling down in her native state of Maine, she was a gypsy field biologist for many years – conducting fieldwork and wildlife research throughout North America in a wide range of habitats, from the deserts of New Mexico to the remote tundra landscape of the Canadian Arctic. Deb has researched coastal brown bears on salmon streams in the Alaskan wilderness, tracked Canada lynx, crawled into bear dens in the North Maine Woods, and banded puffins in Downeast Maine.

Kimberly Post, artist and photographer, lives outside of Portland, Maine. Her art embraces the natural world and she likes to closely observe flora and fauna in all stages of living and dying. As one of the early innovators of the iPhoneography movement, she holds workshops teaching people of all ages how to “see” with iOS technology. Kimberly holds a bachelor’s degree in fine art photography and a master’s degree in education. She is the Community-Based Learning Director and Interdisciplinary faculty at Saint Joseph’s College. Kimberly is represented by Vox Photographs.

Sharmon Provan is director of horticulture at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Growing up on the West Coast, Sharmon attended The Evergreen State College and moved to the Bay Area for graduate school. Desiring a life-change after a four-year layover in the canyons of Southern California, she headed east to the beautiful mid-coast region of Maine, where she quickly dug into the earth, enrolling in the University of Maine’s Master Gardener program. In 2005 she joined the staff of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

Erica Qualey lives in MidCoast Maine and works as a watercolor artist and illustrator. She received her BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has exhibited in Maine and New Hampshire and is represented in private collections throughout the United States and Canada. Recently, one of her paintings was selected for Splash 19, a yearly publication of watercolor paintings from North America. She has led workshops for adults at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland and the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, among other art associations. She has participated in visiting artist programs in public schools and runs after-school art programs for K-8 kids at Skidompha Public Library in Damariscotta. See examples of her work www.ericaqualey.com.

Bruce John Riddell, landscape architect of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, is principal of his one person firm known as “LandArt”. Bruce received his undergraduate degree from the University of Maine and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986. He is the winner of 2011 Merit Design Award from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects for Outstanding Residential Garden Design for the Wright Garden: “Pardisan.” He is also the winner of the prestigious 2010 American Horticultural Society’s Landscape Designer of the Year Award. His present design focus is on intimate coastal gardens. His landscape designs for Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens include the stonework, planting, and waterfall designs for the Meditation Garden, Rhododendron Garden, Arbor Garden, Entry Garden, and Great Lawn.

Dan Robarts is a horticulturist at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, responsible for managing the Giles Rhododendron Garden and the garden spaces surrounding the Borsage Family Education Center. Dan is also responsible for propagation, plant breeding, and horticultural research. Dan holds a B.S. in biology from Bates College and a Ph.D. in plant breeding and evolutionary genetics from Ohio State University.

Sir Tim Smit is best known for his achievements in Cornwall, England. He ‘discovered’ and then restored The Lost Gardens of Heligan, now one of the UK’s best-loved gardens, with John Nelson. Tim is Executive Vice-Chairman and Co-founder of the multi-award winning Eden Project in Cornwall. Since its opening in 2001, 19 million people have come to see a once-sterile pit become a cradle of life, containing world-class horticulture and startling architecture symbolic of human endeavour. Tim is also Executive Chairman for Eden Project International, which aims to have an Eden Project on every habited continent by 2025.

Sarah Smith is a horticulturist at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens where she maintains the garden space surrounding the Bosarge Family Education Center. A Missouri native, Sarah came to the Gardens as the 2016 Public Horticulture Intern and has been here ever since. Sarah attended Northwest Missouri State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in horticulture.

Dr. Lois Berg Stack recently retired from her position as the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s ornamental horticulture specialist. In her role, she conducted applied research on plants that support native bees and honeybees, and on production of chokeberry as a nutraceutical crop. She also worked extensively with home gardeners on landscape topics such as management of invasive species and selection and management of Maine landscape plants.

Esperanza Stancioff, an educator with the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension, specializes in climate change education and adaptation planning. Esperanza has designed and implemented educational programs in coastal ecosystem health, specifically in marine environmental monitoring and watershed assessment and management.

Dr. Doug Tallamy is professor and Chair of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. He is also the author of the pivotal book Bringing Nature Home and, most recently, is co-author of The Living Landscape with Rick Darke.

Diane Walden is a horticulturist at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Her beautiful garlands have graced many ribbon-cutting celebrations, including those for the Haney Hillside Garden, the Bosarge Family Education Center, and the Fairy House Village. She creates many of the arrangements and container plantings Gardens’ visitors so admire.

Patty Watson has been on the horticultural staff of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens since 2009. She is an avid gardener and loves to put up the many products she grows at home. Along with her husband, they can and freeze several pounds of produce every season. Patty is also an avid hunter and gatherer and has been an outdoors writer for over twenty years. Most days her hands are either planting, peeling, or preparing.

Jeri Wilson, E-RYT 500, believes in living her yoga practice on and off the mat. Jeri draws from over 20 years’ experience as an occupational therapist working with the body and musculoskeletal problems and offering detailed instruction in alignment as she guides her students through postures with ease and vitality. Jeri also regularly teaches mindful meditation classes along with her husband, Jeff Matranga. She thanks her teachers for their guidance, her students for helping her continue to learn, and her husband and three sons for their love and support on her path.