Board, Staff, and Volunteers

Board of Directors

  • Mark D. Smith, President

    Mark is a partner in the law firm Goodwin Procter, specializing in technology start-up financing. A passionate advocate for native plants, he can often be found pulling invasives or planting natives in our Demonstration Garden or at his home. Mark brings valuable nonprofit experience, having served on multiple nonprofit boards. And we especially love his energy at our annual Plant Sale!

  • Claudia Thompson, Founder & President Emerita

    Claudia has devoted her tremendous energies to Grow Native since 2009, and served as President until 2017. She now shares leadership of the organization with Mark, focusing on program development and strategy. She has a lifetime of experience in the nonprofit environmental sector, working both in Massachusetts and nationally. She is our webmaster and teaches many of our Traveling Workshops.

  • Seth Wilkinson.

    Seth Wilkinson, Vice President

    Seth Wilkinson is a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner and President of Wilkinson Ecological Design.  Considered an expert and frequent instructor in the field of bioengineering and ecological restoration, Seth has led hundreds of ecological restoration projects for private individuals, land trusts and municipalities over the last two decades. 

  • Candace Young

    Candace Young, Treasurer

    Candace's first career was in finance, and her second followed her deeper passion for landscape design. After studying as a master gardener and in several other programs, she ran her own design, installation, and maintenance business. She is now a community steward at Fresh Pond Reservation in Cambridge. She volunteers at Grow Native in many capacities, including her much appreciated role as Treasurer.

  • Janet Burns.

    Janet Burns

    Janet has a Masters in Landscape Architecture and her entire career focused on conservation. She serves on the Cambridge Fresh Pond Advisory Board, reviewing planting plans and restoration projects at the Reservation. While living in Madison, Wisconsin in the 1980's she had the opportunity to learn from the early leaders in the renewed native plant movement, including Darrel Morrison and William Jordan. 

  • Ruth Loetterle

    Ruth Loetterle, Clerk

    Ruth is a Senior Associate at IBI Placemaking, formerly Carol R. Johnson Associates. Years after earning her Masters in Landscape Architecture, it was reading Sara Stein's book, Noah's Garden, that fired her commitment to designing landscapes as functional ecosystems. She jumped at the opportunity to get involved in Grow Native at our founding, and is a dedicated volunteer for virtually all of our programs.

  • Suzanne Korschun.

    Suzanne Korschun

    Suzanne is a senior graphic designer at UMass Boston. She was first introduced to native plants at a Grow Native Traveling Talk at her local public library. This motivated her to start transitioning her home garden and to advocate for native plants throughout her community. She continues to be inspired by our workshops and lectures, volunteers at our Plant Sale, and enjoys our growing community.

  • Bonnie Rosenthall.

    Bonnie Rosenthall

    Bonnie is currently the President of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts. She is the Board Chair for our annual Native Plant Sale and is very committed to educating and motivating gardeners to establish native plant landscapes.

  • Alex Van Praagh

    Alex Van Praagh

    Alex is a MIT-trained architect who has worked internationally on universities, schools and hospitals. Currently he has a design-build practice in Cambridge where he and his wife are raising their three children. He is gifted at working with stones in the landscape and shaping small-scale places. He has served on the board since its inception where his appreciation for native plants has grown each year.  


  • Staff

  • Karen Gibson.

    Karen Gibson, Manager of Member Engagement & Operations

    Karen is responsible for coordinating our large number of member-volunteers, takes a lead role in fundraising from individuals and organizations, and is responsible for general operations. She has a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and worked previously at the Department of Energy and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Meredith Gallogly, Manager of Programs

    Meredith runs our Plant Sale, teaches numerous workshops, produces our eNews, and helps to manage programs overall. She received her BA from Smith College in Biological Sciences. An avid plant observer, she has been exploring the flora of metro Boston's region for much of the past decade. You definitely want to go on one of her plant walks!


  • Advisory Board

    Douglas Tallamy, Professor, Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware

    Bryan Connolly, Assistant Professor of Biology, Framingham State University


    Regional Liasons

    Kristin Andres, Southeastern MA, Cape & Islands


    Volunteers of the Year

  • /sites/default/files/images/Suzanne%20Korschun.jpg

    Suzanne Korschun: 2018 Volunteer of the Year

    Suzanne volunteers for us in so many capacities. Whether planting and weeding in the Demonstration Garden, working for days in conjunction with the Native Plant Sale, or helping out in the office during a staffing crunch, she cheerfully jumps in. Her reward? Learning more and more about native plant landscaping, being recognized as our Volunteer of the Year, and then— being asked to join the board!

    Thank you, Suzanne!

  • Previous Volunteer of the Year award recipients.

    2017 Virginia Kropas For the willingness to help with any task— staying to the very end at events, no matter how cold.
    2016 Diana Brandi For her infectious enthusiasm for our mission, leading outreach and community projects in Nahant.
    2015 Ruth Loetterle For her dedication in volunteering to help run more than 40 programs and events since 2010. 
    2014 Jonathan Baker For his commitment and help in managing the move of our IT infrastructure to our new office.
    2014 Phil Lounsbury For hands-on leadership in renovating our new office and keeping all of us cleaning and painting!
    2013 Joan & Phil Lounsbury For transforming their Melrose gardens; becoming community leaders and advocates for natives.
    2012 Susan Bringola For her exceptional work as our volunteer bookkeeper over several years.
    2012 Cynthia Frawley For the beautiful design of our flyers and printed communications, now and in the future!