A Remarkable Year
The year 2020 was surely an eventful one for all of us! In addition to responding to the emerging COVID pandemic, we marked several significant program and organizational milestones. After a decade of operations, we now have more than 1,000 individual member-supporters. Evenings with Experts has grown to become a highly-respected program that is widely known across Massachusetts and beyond— a key and successful part of our strategy to build much greater public engagement in our mission. Likewise, our annual Native Plant Sale has become much-loved and valued, building both demand and supply in the native plant world. Finally, our founder and long-time leader, Claudia Thompson retired from the board in November, passing the baton of leadership to current President Mark Smith. We celebrate the accomplishments made possible by our entire board, our growing staff, and our always dedicated volunteers, as we continue our important work.
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!
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, 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.
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 serves on the Committee for Public Planting in Cambridge, MA.
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.
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.
Hilary is an HR Business Partner at Sanofi where she works with R&D leaders to attract, develop, and retain talent. She joined Grow Native to learn how to support pollinators and quickly got engaged in a deeper appreciation of native plant ecology. Hilary is now transforming her own backyard and helping others do the same, to support not just pollinators, but birds and all wildlife.
Alex Van Praagh
Alex is an 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.
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!
Kristin Andres, Southeastern MA, Cape & Islands
Founder & President Emerita
Volunteers of the Year
We are delighted to recognize the exceptional people who do so much every year to bring our programs to life.
Amy Meltzer: 2020 Volunteer of the Year
Amy is so often “behind the scenes,” making valuable contributions. Whether creating signage for our Native Plant Sale, finding plants for our Ecology Challenge, or promoting our mission and programs at public events, she is there! With a passion for the power of individual and community action, she brings a unique commitment to our work, and especially to promoting the importance of native plant landscapes in addressing both our climate change and biodiversity crises.
Thank you, Amy!
Previous Volunteer of the Year award recipients.
2019 Ellen Menounos For her highly skilled work at our Native Plant Sale, for so many years. 2018 Suzanne Korschun For volunteering in so many capacities— from Plant Sale, to Demo Garden, to the office. 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!