The Judges

America in Bloom's volunteer judges come from a cross-section of professional backgrounds: horticultural, arborial, civic, business sector, and more. They receive special training each year. Our judges also spend time coaching cities and consulting with them on improvements they can make. They continue to be available after judging for further mentoring.

After visiting a town, judges write a detailed evaluation highlighting strengths and listing areas for possible improvements. Many communities have stated that they have received greater value from their AIB evaluations than from expensive consulting reports.

AIB judges also often speak at industry conferences. Please contact AIB if you would like one of our judges to speak at your conference or event.

The commitment of our judges is phenomenal. We estimate the judges’donation of time during the past year to be at least 6,000 hours.

The judging teams are announced in mid-March.

Leslie Pittenger is an AIB board member who chairs the national awards program committee and serves as the judge coordinator. Although her “official” position is City Auditor for Belpre, her passion for the improvement of her area has inspired community volunteers. Belpre received the 2013 and 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award for Community Involvement sponsored by the American Horticultural Society under her leadership as local AIB committee chairwoman. As an active member of the Belpre Garden Club and Belpre High School Greenhouse boosters, she works with local students to complete environmental and beautification projects. Currently serving her second term as auditor, her department has received the Ohio Auditor of State Award for exemplary financial reporting the last three years. She has completed the Ohio Tree Commission Academy course and has her Commercial Applicator license for pesticides through the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Leslie is the co-editor of the Best Ideas annual edition. She serves on the board of directors for the Belpre Alumnae Association and the Belpre Area Community Development Foundation. She graduated from the University of Georgia and was a business owner for 10 years. Leslie believes in – and has experienced – the value of AIB for the benefits it can bring to the well-being and pride of small towns across America. 

 
Douglas Airhart is a Professor of Horticulture in the School of Agriculture at Tennessee Tech University, Cookesville (23 years). He teaches courses in floriculture, landscaping, production practices for trees, shrubs, turf, and flowers, and provides FFA training and contests in nursery and floriculture. He has served on the Chamber's City Beautification committee for a decade.  He is a Certified Arborist, Municipal Specialist; has managed the Arboretum Certification Program of the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council; and provides assistance to regional Tree Boards. He has published numerous articles on consumer horticulture and tree care technologies, and has coordinated many grant projects about tree care and maintenance. He invites you to visit his website at www.tlcfortrees.info.
   
 

Sue Amatangelo brings a well rounded background to America in Bloom. Sue became a Master Gardener for the University of Illinois where she won the Illinois Outstanding Master Gardener Award. Sue is currently the Midwest, Northeast, and Eastern Canada Sales Manager for EuroAmerican Propagators, founder of the #1 plant brand, Proven Winners. In her role, Sue works closely with brokers, growers, independent retailers and large retailers to provide quality and unique young plants and retail-ready programs and products. Her previous position as Brand Manager was with Park Seed, a division of JPPA which includes Jackson & Perkins, Wayside Gardens and Van Dyke’s Restorers. She has also worked for the Ball Horticultural Company as the National Retail Accounts Manager, working on annual and perennial programs for major retailers and growers in the US and Canada. In 2010 Sue accepted the position of Director for Home & Garden Showplace, the independent garden center division of the True Value Company, growing the business to more than $70M. Since 2000, Sue has been a Plan Commissioner for the city of St. Charles, Illinois and prior to that sat on the Zoning Board of Appeals. She is a Horticulture Superintendent of the Kane County, Illinois, Fair, a past board member of the Garden Centers of America and the University of Illinois Kane County Council. Sue is a member of the American Planning Association (APA), the Garden Writers Association (GWA) and the American Horticulture Society (AHS), and Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). Sue is the author of Absolutely Beautiful Containers and has written a children’s book on gardening. She is an active speaker with a particular passion to get consumers engaged and excited about gardening. She has been a guest on radio shows, a writer for both industry and consumer magazines and a guest speaker for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. An America in Bloom judge since 2010, Sue helped to bring her own community of St. Charles, IL into the AIB program for 2015 and Greenwood, SC, her adopted home, for 2016.

   
 

Carlo Balistrieri is President and CCO of The Botanical Gardening Group, a consulting practice assisting botanical and other public gardens with management, horticultural, best practices, curatorial and collections, and marketing/communications issues.

He began his public garden career as Curator of the Rock Garden at The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, New York. Prior to this, he was Head of Horticulture at the Royal Botanical Gardens. He has made media appearances on television, radio, and webcasts.

Carlo also served as Executive Director of the Gardens at Turtle Point in Tuxedo Park, New York. He was vice-president of preservation for the Garden Conservancy, where he had primary responsibility for the core mission of “saving and sharing gardens for the education and inspiration of the public”.

He is a professional garden photographer, writer, speaker, and a lawyer with nearly two decades of private practice experience including a speciality in the international trade in rare plants.

   
  Rod Barnes currently serves as the Town Administrator for Edmonston, Maryland. Edmonston is a small community in the Washington DC metro region. He has a Master of Public Administration from Kansas State University. He has served as purchasing agent, finance director, city clerk and as a City Manager over his 35 years of experience in local government. While serving in local government roles, he has developed historic preservation projects and has extensive experience working on trail development and expanding park greenspace in the communities he has served. In the two years he has been at Edmonston, he has focused on the town’s environmental efforts. He has expertise in the development of green streets that include the components of rain gardens, bike lanes, using recycled materials for furniture and trash receptacles and permeable paving. Other sustainable environment projects he has been involved with include the use of solar energy for heating Town Hall, the use of electric cars for Code Enforcement and Public Works. Rod was instrumental in the development of a community garden and 3 community fruit tree orchards in Edmonston.

   
  Billy Butterfield, Orlando, Florida, has been active in the landscape field for 35 years. His management experience is in the areas of commercial and industrial landscape management. Billy is the Manager of AmeriScapes Landscape Management Services, LLC, a landscape management company he started in 1995 which now has grown into a $4 million operation covering four central Florida counties. 

Billy is a Certified Pest Control applicator and is licensed in Aquatics through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Billy is an irrigation specialty contractor, an FNGLA Certified Landscape Contractor and Certified Horticulture Professional, and is a Certified Landscape Professional through Planet. He currently serves on the Orange County Farm Bureau, the Orange County Ag Advisory Board as Chairman, and on the Action Chapter Board of the Florida Nursery, Growers, and Landscape Association as past president.
 
  Jack Clasen.  Jack brings a varied background to AIB. After receiving a Ph.D. in Community Health from Indiana University, he began his career as a college professor, then small business owner, community volunteer, and Master Gardener. He has been with AIB since its inception. Before retiring to Raleigh, he lived in the Cincinnati area where he co-founded and chaired the local beautification committee and the annual "Art in the Garden" tour. His own yard was voted one of the 10 best in the tri-state region, was filmed by HGTV, and featured in Cincinnati Magazine. 

Jack serves as co-chair of the national awards program and secretary of the AIB board. He has judged more than 75 communities in the USA, Canada, Scotland, and Ireland.  
   
  Linda Cromer has served her community, Greendale, Indiana, in a variety of political positions including Planning Commissioner, Chairperson of the Park Board and Tree Board, and Housing Authority Commissioner. She sits on the Executive Boards and plays an active role in the efforts of several national and state non-profit organizations dedicated to social justice and environmental issues.

Linda, who received a fine arts education at the University of Kansas, learned to love gardening at her grandmother’s knee. Owner and operator of a floral shop and greenhouse for over a decade, she has spent the bulk of her professional life traveling as an international representative for a labor organization, and has used those travel opportunities to audit design and horticulture classes at a number of universities, and to study the diversity and individuality of public gardens and the communities where they are located.

Linda is past president and active member of the local Garden Club and spearheaded her community’s first participation in the America in Bloom Program in 2005.
   
“Grow what you know, paint what you love” has been Marjorie Egee’s motto for her 30 years as a professional artist. A lifetime of avid home gardening and study of horticulture fuels her signature watercolor garden landscapes and floral paintings. Inspired by regional large public gardens and her half-acre certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat, she has produced a dozen solo gallery and museum shows from gardens great and small. As garden guide at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library for two years and as a docent at Mount Cuba Center for 10 years, Marjorie connected people to the beauty and advantages of plants in all our lives. Marjorie’s passions for art and horticulture have fostered events connecting artists to public gardens and institutions for mutual benefit. Involving the arts is a natural connection to the beautification of our environment, furthering the mission and vision of America in Bloom.
 
  Tony Ferrara has served 16 years on the Arroyo Grande, CA. City Council and 12 years as the City’s elected mayor. Tony has held a number of municipal leadership positions including Board Chair of the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District Board, and the County’s Integrated Waste Management Board. More recently, Tony was the President of the League of California Cities, an advocacy and lobbying organization representing all 482 cities in California. Tony’s passion is his 8 year involvement with Arroyo Grande in Bloom as both a volunteer and member of the AGIB Board. Arroyo Grande in Bloom is a 501(c)3 organization and is a multi-year, multi-category AIB award winner and proud member of the America In Bloom Circle of Champions. He is proficient in the development of municipal/volunteer relationships and promoting conservation and historical preservation programs. Tony was instrumental in developing and implementing a county-wide curb-side recycling program and alternative energy program to support the operation of the local sanitation district.

Tony holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with emphasis in the Behavioral Sciences from the University of Southern California; and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Redlands. He is a former faculty member for the California State University Long Beach, as well as the University of Phoenix.

He is an active member of the America in Bloom Board of Directors and serves on the Symposium Committee of AIB.
   
  Galen Gates has over 30 years of professional experience in horticulture. At the Chicago Botanic Garden, Galen was a key player in creating 27 world-class display gardens and 4 natural-habitat environments - the perfect job for someone ho has always loved construction and is a a certified "plant freak." Galen is knowledgeable in plants, their ornamental characteristics and cultural requirements, garden design, public displays, site improvements, and construction. A widely-recognized plant expert, he has collected and studied plants on 24 trips into 20 countries - efforts that have enriched the botanical understanding and diversity of plants in the U.S. Galen has contributed to over 90 books and penned 20 journal articles, and is a strong believer in education. He initiated and taught the Chicago Botanic Garden's first education course and initiated and programmed three popular annual conferences.
 
  Bill Hahn has served the city of Akron, Ohio for 34 years in various capacities. Since 1993 his title has been City Arborist and Horticulturist. Bill has received several citations for his work including Akron’s winning the 2003 America in Bloom national competition for the 101,000-300,000 population category, Neptune Park Historic Restoration, and the Akron Noise Attenuation Project being featured by Scenic America as an “Environmental Solution” to highway noise.

Bill has been a registered Landscape Architect since 1984, and earned an Associates Degree in Ornamental Horticulture from Ohio State University in 1974. He is an environmental enthusiast, is well traveled, visiting many of the national, state and provincial parks, gardens, arboreta and nursery growers. He is member of ONLA, ISA, and Scenic America, serves on the Contest Committee of America in Bloom.


 

John “Jay” Harper is a third generation horticulturist. He and his two brothers operate Harper’s Landscape and Gardening Centre in Scottsdale, AZ. Jay is past president of the Arizona Nursery Association and was instrumental in developing what is becoming a national marketing program for the plant industry called “Plant Something”. He has also served on the board of the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix and on boards for area Young Life and his church. One of Jay’s passions is teaching and he gives many talks and speeches to local garden clubs and has taught various topics of horticulture at the local community college. One of the highlights of his career was hosting a weekly call-in radio show which Jay has hosted for nearly 30 years.

   
  Ed Hooker, III currently serves as the first Historical Architect of the National Cemetery Administration (NCA), Veterans Affairs (VA). The NCA oversees 131 National Veterans Cemeteries through the United States and Puerto Rico. 

Hooker began his career in federal service in 2006 as the Historic Architect and Cultural Resources Manager at Fort Riley, KS. After graduating from Auburn University with a degree in architecture, he began his career in historic preservation with the Alabama Historical Commission, the Alabama State Historic Preservation Office, where he worked with communities to realize the potential of their threatened historic landmarks. He later was the historic architect for the Mobile Historic Development Commission, where he staffed the city’s Architectural Review Board and provided preservation guidance and architectural design assistance to residents of Mobile’s eight historic districts. Hooker credits his passion for historic preservation to growing up in the Black Belt region of Alabama, volunteering as a docent for his community’s annual pilgrimage, and being made aware at an early age the importance of heritage and history.  He considers himself an avid amateur gardener, and enjoys container and patio gardening. Ed also served for two years on his town’s AIB Committee.

   
  Marlborough B. Packard is a retired Professor of Historic Preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia; he began teaching at the college in 1992. Professor Packard holds a B.A. degree in art education from Adelphi University, an M.A. in art education from Hofstra University and an M.F.A in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He has been active in the preservation of the built and natural environment since 1963, both as a consultant and as a developer of historic properties.

His expertise includes graveyard preservation and conservation, decorative arts, preservation technology, nonprofit management, material culture studies, community redevelopment and he is a practicing artist specializing in painting and relief sculpture. A committed environmentalist, Professor Packard lives in The State of Maine for three months each year in a home he designed and built which functions without electricity, minimal gray water discharge, and features a solar assisted composting toilet. The surrounding landscape is 100 percent xeriscaped and produces thirty to forty quarts of wild blue berries each year.
   
  Kristin Pategas of Winter Park, FL is a certified Landscape Designer and horticulturist. Kristin and her husband, Stephen, are co-owners of Hortus Oasis, a boutique landscape architecture company and co-authors of the book Southern Coastal Home Landscaping. Together they write regular gardening columns for Winter Park Home Magazine and The Park Press.

Kristin’s career began in 1982 when she joined the Walt Disney World Company as a plant pathologist at The Land, EPCOT. During her 18 years with Disney she also managed the Walt Disney World Nursery, developed educational programming for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, and was a Program Manager for The Disney Institute. In 2001 she joined her husband to form Hortus Oasis; where they design residential, commercial and specialty gardens, trial new plants, practice sustainable gardening and donate their time and talents to the community.

Kristin currently serves on the educational committee for the Florida Nurserymen, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA), is the 2014 Local Committee Chair for the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) and helps organize the Autumn Mead Botanical Garden Plant Sale. Kristin can often be found with her husband tending the gardens at their 1925 home or teaching about landscape design at Harry P. Leu Gardens, the Winter Park Public Library, garden clubs and other groups in Central Florida. Kristin enjoys giving people the tools they need to create and maintain beautiful garden sanctuaries.
   
  Stephen Pategas is an award winning landscape architect, garden writer, garden photographer and plant geek in Winter Park, FL. He and his wife Kristin are owners of Hortus Oasis, a boutique landscape architecture company and authors of the book Southern Coastal Home Landscaping and gardening columns for local magazines.

Their historic 1925 home and garden have been featured on numerous garden tours, in magazines and on television including Growing a Greener World hosted by Joe Lamp’l.

Stephen currently serves on the City of Winter Park's Keep Winter Park Beautiful & Sustainable Board and with it founded Winter Park Blooms. Winter Park successfully competed in AIB in 2013. Previously he served on the Tree Preservation Board and the Parks and Recreation Board. After designing the gardens for Casa Feliz, a 1933 historic brick house that was saved from demolition and moved in 2000, Stephen joined the Friends of Casa Feliz board. His travels have taken him to hundreds of gardens in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia. Stephen's favorite gardens to design are those that touch people's lives.

   
  Alex Pearl, from Centerville, Ohio has been an AIB judge since the America in Bloom’s inception. He is also among the group of founders. Alex is a retired horticulture educator whose career has taken him in many different directions. He has held positions in higher education, botanical gardens, private industry and in his own business. Alex retired from the State of Ohio in 2011, where he taught Vocational Horticulture for the Ohio Central School System, a charter school of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. Alex holds horticulture degrees from the State University of New York, and New Mexico State University, a Masters in Botanical Garden Management from the University of Delaware and a Masters in Education from Ohio State University. His is an active member of various trade and amateur horticultural organizations. His long association with "in bloom" programs through America in Bloom and the Canadian program Communities in Bloom has taken him to cities across North America and Europe. He is a strong advocate of the benefits in bloom programs provide people and communities. Alex’s motto is ‘plants change lives’.
   
 
Laurie Potier-Brown, PLA, was raised on a dairy farm and there began a lifelong passion for wandering around in nature. She started her professional career with degrees in Psychology and Art. She wound up in the corporate world where she received extensive training in business and marketing. Twelve years of that was enough to convince her that, all in all, she would rather work with plants than people. She returned to school and graduated with a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Florida. She then completed an apprenticeship in Brazil with Roberto Burle-Marx, the renowned botanist and landscape architect. She career has included private, corporate, and government settings. She earned AICP certification while with the Hillsborough County Planning Commission. Her last form position was with the City of Tampa. She has designed, contracted, and installed projects from tiny Zen Gardens at Hospice to 5 miles of Bayfront boulevard where 22,000 annuals were changed out 3 times a year. She now has her own landscape architecture firm in Tampa.
   
  Bruce Riggs currently free-lances in horticulture and is involved in several not for profit institutions. He is also very involved in the family landscape design business with his wife Melanie Menachem Riggs who is also an AIB judge. They reside in New Rochelle, New York. He recently held the position of Curator of Science at the Bruce Museum (no relation!) of Arts & Science in Greenwich, CT.

During his 18 years at the New York Botanical Garden, Bruce was very involved with the Horticulture and Education Divisions. He administered the creation and implementation of the internationally recognized interpretation program for the NYBG.

He has recently been very involved in elementary school science and horticulture programs. He has worked on projects for the American Association of Museums and the Institute of Museum Studies. He has been very involved with Mountain Top Arboretum in Tannersville, NY, serving as President since 1998. Bruce is an avid traveler having visited numerous gardens and natural areas.

    
 
Melanie Riggs, New Rochelle, New York, began her career as a horticulturist for the Wildcliff Museum Greenhouses where she worked as the greenhouse Exhibitions Director for many years. Melanie graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in Plant Science and Botany. She subsequently has studied Landscape Design and has graduate coursework in Botany.

Her passion for plants and gardens compliments her passion for travel. Melanie has traveled extensively throughout Europe, South and Central America, Southeast Asia, North Africa and North America.
   
  Karin Rindal. Karin Rindal’s wide ranging business career in manufacturing and government includes time involved in international trade program evaluation and training in Total Quality Management (TQM) and Malcolm Baldridge Criteria for Performance Excellence.

In 2004 Karin discovered the New Jersey Master Gardener program. She was appointed to the Board of Directors at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown, NJ, where she organized annual plant sales and coordinated activities of volunteer committees including donations, raffle, and publicity and print materials.  

Karin has won awards at the New Jersey Home and Garden Show for container design and for horticultural entries at the Newport, RI Flower Show. For two years she wrote a regular weekly garden column for the Millburn/Short Hills Patch.  Since 2005 she has taught gardening and cooking classes to adults and children.  After a trip to Germany to do on-site research and photography, her most recent lecture involves the herbs and gardens of medieval cleric, Hildegard Von Bingen.

Karin currently volunteers at the US Botanic Garden where she has assisted with a broad variety of educational events, including presenting a class on sustainable container gardening.  Through her work at the Botanic Garden on the Sustainable Sites InitiativeTM (SITES) she completed the requirements for the New Jersey Environmental Stewardship program.

Karin’s career began with a degree in Political Science and German, with a minor in French, followed by a Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins University‘s School of Advanced International Studies.  
   
  Susie Stratton and her husband Steve are owners and operators of Stratton Greenhouses, founded by Steve’s father. Today it is a retail garden center, landscape and design operation and nursery serving the northwest Ohio region.

Susie is the retail manager of the business as well as the landscape and design professional.  She has a degree in Art from Albion College as well as a Masters degree in College Student Personnel. Both of her skills are used when working with communities in the formation of design ideas.  She also works with community leaders in trying to take their downtown districts to a higher level of beautification.

Susie has been instrumental in the beautification of the University of Findlay campus since 2007.  She was also chairman of their America in Bloom entry for 2013.  They won the top Environmental Award as well as Special Mention and a 4 bloom rating.

Susie says, “My passion is bringing beauty to the world one project at a time.”

   
  Barbara Vincentsen is owner of Vincentsen Associates, a medium-sized award-winning
architectural firm in Westfield, New Jersey. She grew up in a gardening family and has continued her family tradition in her own gardens, which have plantings shared from three generations of close family and friends. Her Westfield garden was featured in the 2010 America in Bloom program in Westfield.

Barbara is a licensed architect in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York, and is a licensed professional planner and certified interior designer in New Jersey. She is actively involved in her community, serving on the boards of the Friends of Mindowaskin Park Committee and Fairview Cemetery Committee. She is a member of the Westfield Service League and Downtown Westfield Corporation Design Committee, and a past president of Central Section of New Jersey Chapter of the AIA.

   
After 25 years as a teacher, Laurie Waller retired and moved to Arroyo Grande, California, where her husband Richard was born and raised. The Waller family were flower seed growers throughout the twentieth century. Curious about coastal California horticulture, Laurie began volunteering with the local America In Bloom group, Arroyo Grande In Bloom, an all-volunteer, non-profit group. In 2009, Laurie took over as floral displays chairperson for the group and established the current Floral Displays program in Arroyo Grande. In the course of planning and executing three plantings a year during an extended period of severe drought, Laurie completed the University of California Master Gardener program, where she currently volunteers as a helpline consultant. Under Laurie’s stewardship, the floral displays program has flourished and been recognized for top honors within AIB. Additionally, Laurie developed and fostered a relationship with local commercial greenhouse growers who donate more than 90% of the plant material used in the container and basket program in floral displays. Laurie also runs a successful business, is a board member and officer of the local business association, and a board member for Arroyo Grande In Bloom.
 
  Katy Moss Warner is President Emeritus of the American Horticultural Society (AHS), a national, non-profit, member-based organization with the vision of “making America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens.” Katy was Director of Disney's Horticulture and Environmental Initiatives at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, responsible for the landscapes of four theme parks, 15 resort properties and over 70 miles of roads on the 30,500-acre property. For 24 years - from 1976 to 2000 - she provided the leadership necessary to ensure that Disney's horticultural traditions of beautiful gardens and themed landscapes were sustained. Katy has traveled extensively and has hosted garden tours in Italy, England, Belgium, Czech Republic, Argentina, Morocco as well as many destinations within the US. Katy judges for America in Bloom and international competitions. She is a Longwood Fellow with Longwood Gardens and the University of Delaware as well as a Loeb Fellow with the Harvard Graduate School of Design. 


   
 

Diana K. Weiner is the Horticulture Coordinator for Sullivan Renaissance, a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation. The program provides communities in Sullivan County, NY with seed money for beautification projects. 

For 16+ years she served as the Community Horticulture Educator and Master Gardener Coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County NY.  She then served as the Superintendent of Parks and Grounds for the Historic Hotel of America, Mohonk Mountain House.  Her career brought her to Meadowbrook Farm, an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society where she created a volunteer program and managed their retail plant sales.  She also spent 3 years restoring an 11 acre native plant sanctuary in Elkins Park, PA.  Diana is a lecturer and consultant.  In addition to her love of gardening she enjoys hiking, cooking, antiques and music.

Diana is a member of the Garden Writers Association, The International Plant Propagators Society, the Perennial Plant Association and the American Horticultural Society.  She currently sits on the program committee of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County.

She has served as a judge for Sullivan Renaissance, county fairs and has judged for America in Bloom for 11 years, nationally and internationally. 

   
  Meg Whitmer is a Florida licensed landscape architect with a lifelong commitment to beautification, conservation, environmental education and stewardship. A professional landscape architect for over 30 years, Meg’s work spans the entire state of Florida. Dedicated to protecting our most cherished natural resource, WATER, Meg focuses on projects in urban coastal and watershed areas.

Her passion for beautification was sparked early in her life: her mother and grandmother were active garden club members. As a Life Member of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, she continues their legacy by promoting youth and community gardening, volunteering her time at her local community garden. In 2006, she organized an America In Bloom campaign in Stuart, FL. The City of Stuart won the top AIB award in its population category in 2008.

Meg is a member of the Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Florida Nursery Growers and Landscapers Association, Florida Association of Native Nurseries, Florida Earth Foundation, Tampa Garden Club, Tampa Heights Civic Association, Tampa Heights Community Garden, serves on the City of Tampa Architecture Review Commission and is a member of the Mayor’s Neighborhood University program. She currently divides her time between Tampa and Florida’s southeast coast, serving clients throughout the central and southern regions of Florida.

   
  Teresa Woodard is a prolific garden writer, an award-winning master gardener and a backyard conservationist from central Ohio. After graduating from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, she worked seven years for a Columbus, Ohio public relations firm marketing the city’s economic development and promoting its restaurant and hotel chains’ community outreach efforts. Teresa took a new path in 2007 pursuing a freelance writing business focused on her passion of gardening.  She currently scouts, writes and produces stories for Better Homes Gardens special interest magazines, Country Gardens, The Chicago Tribune, Midwest Living, Ohio Magazine and State-by-State Gardening magazines.  She also travels frequently and blogs with two other garden writers at www.heartland-gardening.com She is a Master Gardener Volunteer for The Ohio State University Extension and won the 2015 Ohio Outstanding Master Gardener Award for her efforts to launch a Heritage Tree Program, help organize a conservation tour for a nationally protected river and publicize Master Gardeners’ efforts around the state. At her rural home in a conservation development near West Jefferson, Ohio, she nurtures prairie strips, an edibles garden and perennial beds and helps maintain the development’s 250-acre preserve.