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Meet the Fellows
After a rigorous selection process, we are pleased to announce the talented professionals selected for the 2018-19 cohort of our prestigious Fellows Program. These passionate individuals are joining our 13-month residential program that develops global leaders in the field of public horticulture.
Sadie Barber is on sabbatical from the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she has worked in the Horticulture Division since 2006. Her role as senior horticulturist includes the curation of a large Gesneriaceae collection, leading to species discovery, taxonomic revisions, and answering questions on evolutionary development. As part of the “Floristic Diversity of Indonesia” team, Sadie participated in expeditions to Sumatra and West Papua, and was an expedition leader for fieldwork in Sulawesi. These expeditions succeeded in building strong partnerships in Indonesia, bringing unique living collections to cultivation and discovering species new to science. Recently, Sadie led a cross-divisional team to deliver a hugely successful titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) flowering event at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. The flowering was a first for Scotland and attracted 20,000 visitors to the Garden. Sadie holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in Photography, Film, and Television from Napier University, a Higher National Diploma in Horticulture with Plantsmanship from the University of Glasgow, as well as Certificates in Field Botany and Media Communications. She is interested in how public gardens can work together to engage audiences in an effort to address “plant blindness.” Sadie intends to eventually sit as an Executive Director of a public garden where she can collaborate with those in research, public engagement, and education to help study and conserve the increasingly threatened flora of the world.
Eleanor Gould arrives at Longwood having served as Curator of Gardens at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. Prior to that role, she was assistant gardener in Monticello's fruit, flower and vegetable gardens. Her most recent work includes maintenance, management, interpretation and documentation of the historic gardens. She also served on the program committee for the annual Heritage Harvest Festival. She has worked to expand the Jefferson-documented plant collection at Monticello and shared her daily photographs of the garden on social networks. She attended the University of Virginia and graduated with a masters degree in Landscape Architecture in 2010. Eleanor intends to maintain the spirit of a “young gardener” throughout her career while continuing to advance into a senior position within public horticulture.
Erin Hepfner joins the Longwood Fellows Program from Polly Hill Arboretum on Martha’s Vineyard where she served as the Visitor Services & Resource Specialist. In this position, she managed the Visitor Center, volunteer and tour programs, and supported botanical outreach programs. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Horticulture from the University of Maine, Erin completed horticulture internships at Longwood Gardens and The Filoli Center. She has held seasonal horticulturist positions at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and at Mytoi, a property of The Trustees. Her educational pursuits include a Master of Arts in Sustainable Landscape Design from The Conway School and completion of a National Outdoor Leadership School course. Erin is passionate about inspiring people to connect with public gardens and is seeking to develop a greater understanding of community engagement and marketing and communications to ensure public gardens remain vibrant in their cultural and ecological landscape. As she broadens her professional experience, her long-term career goal is to serve as a garden’s Executive Director and to be a role model in the horticultural industry.
Chelsea Mahaffey most recently served as Conservatory Horticulturist at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to managing the highly visible Conservatory and Community Kitchen Garden, she worked closely with the Garden’s social media program to curate engaging content and worked with staff members on community engagement initiatives to train neighborhood gardeners. Through this work, Chelsea discovered her interest in connecting her passion for plants with people to engage a new generation of gardeners and community activists. She has also worked as a Greenhouse Grower at Peace Tree Farm in Kitnersville, Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Meadowbrook Farm in Jenkintown. In both roles, her focus was on forcing annuals and perennials for the annual Philadelphia Flower Show. Chelsea is currently the Vice Chair of the Emerging Professional Community of the American Public Gardens Association. She received a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from Temple University. Following the Fellows Program, Chelsea plans to pursue a Director of Horticulture position; in ten years she sees herself in an Executive Director role, using her position to actively promote horticulture as a viable, rewarding career.
Caroline Tait is a self-taught nursery propagator, gardener, florist, designer, and business woman with a strong desire to make gardens and gardening inclusive and easy for all. She will complete the Fellows Program while on sabbatical from Coton Manor Garden in Northampton, UK, where for more than 25 years she developed the nursery from modest beginnings to a thriving business. As designer and implementer of projects in her own business, Caroline completed garden builds for London townhouse plots and country garden acreage while teaching clients the skills and confidence to love and nurture their own garden. A silver-gilt medal winner at the Royal Horticultural Society Hampton Court Flower Show 2013, Caroline collaboratively designed a recycled fridge mountain garden planted with alpines as a comment on our fragile relationship with the earth and its resources. Caroline received a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Ecology from Queen Mary College, University of London. As a Longwood Fellow, Caroline is looking forward to learning about future-proofing a business while developing staff and broadening visitor experience and knowledge. Caroline envisions herself leading a large public garden and then going on to develop a consultancy role visiting gardens around the world, advising on projects related to community engagement and change management.
Kaslin Daniels previously served as the Head Gardener at Washington Square Park in New York City, where she worked to develop and maintain the landscape with a team of horticulturists, as well as initiate extensive volunteer and public programming. Prior to that, Kaslin worked as a Section Gardener for the New York City Central Park Conservancy and as a nursery propagator for an urban forestry nonprofit in San Jose, California. After graduating from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, with a B.A. in Biology, Kaslin completed educationally focused horticulture internships at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Delaware, and Wave Hill Garden in the Bronx, New York. Having worked in a variety of institutions and environments, she has honed her cultivation skills, while also gaining exposure in diverse institutional structures, operations, philosophies, and contexts. Passionate about community engagement, art, and public spaces, she hopes to develop botanically rich and inclusive green spaces in cities for all to enjoy.
Neil Gerlowski is on sabbatical from the Vallarta Botanical Garden (VBG) in Jalisco, Mexico, where he has served as Executive Director since 2010. His responsibilities at his home garden have included management, development, and marketing/communications including publication of the garden’s monthly magazine, El Papelillo / The Leaflet. Neil’s other leadership experience in the public horticulture industry includes service as Vice Chair of the International Gardens Professional Section of the American Public Gardens Association, and service on the Association’s Editorial Advisory Group for its quarterly journal Public Garden. Mr. Gerlowski also serves the board of the Magnolia Society International. Prior to joining the VBG, Neil worked as a supervisory level park ranger in Arizona. Neil holds a Master of Arts in Teaching and a Bachelor of Arts in English Teaching, both from the University of New Hampshire. In addition to his native English, Mr. Gerlowski is fluent in Spanish.
Patrick MacRae is a Fellow in residence at Longwood Gardens where he is focused on executive leadership skills development. Patrick’s career objective is to lead one of the world’s great public gardens. He is inspired by the power of beautiful garden design and great horticultural skill, and he is passionate about the role that gardens play in improving our lives. Patrick was previously the Research Manager for the Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He was involved with several research projects aimed at ameliorating site limitations, identifying superior new cultivars of trees and shrubs, and improving transplant techniques. Patrick managed twenty landscapes and gardens on the Cornell campus that were used as living classrooms in furtherance of the Institute’s mission, and he routinely traveled New York State providing extension education to professional and amateur gardeners. Most recently, Patrick managed a trial of English Roses, examining their performance in the Northeast. Patrick holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science and a Master’s Degree in Horticultural Biology, both from Cornell University.
Julia Thomé is a Fellow in residence focusing on community-based horticulture, leadership and systems management in public gardens. Previously, Julia worked for over 25 years in community development and nonprofit management in various positions and locations around the U.S. and internationally. She most recently served as Assistant Manager of Gardens and Grounds at a private garden in the Washington, DC metro area, where she designed and maintained garden spaces, developed children and adult programming, and instituted improvements in plant collection practices. Julia has also served as the Director of Corporate Affairs for Lutheran World Relief, and Senior Coordinator at the Community Training and Assistance Center, a national nonprofit based in Boston, MA, that builds capacities in underserved and marginalized communities. She holds a Master of Science in Agricultural & Resource Economics from the University of Maine, a Bachelor of Science in Geography from the University of Massachusetts, and a Certificate in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Maryland, Institute of Applied Agriculture.