Site icon 2022 Ohio Master Gardener Volunteer State Conference 2022

Speakers

Tracy DiSabato-Aust

Tracy is an award-winning garden designer, international speaker, best-selling author, and world champion triathlete with a passion for plants and design as well as a dynamic inspiring message.

Tracy has earned international acclaim as one of America’s most entertaining, knowledgeable, and artistic garden writers, professional speakers, and designers, with over 45 years of experience. She has not only spoken extensively throughout North America at venues such as Longwood Gardens, The Smithsonian Institute, The Toronto and Montreal Botanic Gardens, but her speaking and work has also taken her to Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, Argentina, Portugal, Belgium, Scotland, and England. In England she has had the honor to speak at The Royal Botanic Garden: Kew, The Royal Horticulture Garden: Wisley, The Oxford Botanic Garden, and the English Gardening School.

She is the author of three best-selling books The Well-Tended Perennial Garden (over 250,000 copies sold and her publisher’s bestselling book ever), The Well-Designed Mixed Garden, and 50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants.

When Tracy is not busy with her “real job” she is growing thousands of sunflowers and thousands of specialty-cut flowers on her farm to give away to family and friends. She and her sunflowers were featured in Better Homes & Gardens in 2019. Spare time is filled with training and racing as a “12x All American” for Team USA in international triathlons. She is a four time National Champion, World Champion, as well as a Worlds Silver & Bronze Medalist in her age group.  She is a proud cancer survivor.


Debra Knapke

After two other careers, in 1992 Debra turned her avocation of plant study and gardening into her full-time career.  Known as “The Garden Sage”, Debra is passionate about gardening, sustainable garden design and the natural world, and enjoys sharing knowledge through her writing, public speaking, and garden consulting. She has served on local and national committees and boards that focus on education, the environment, and sustainability. She has championed those passions during her two-year term (2014-2016) as Honorary President of the Herb Society of America and currently as the Chair of the Sustainability Committee of GardenComm. In addition, she has mentored the future of the landscape industry at Columbus State Community College for 24 years. She loves being a gardener and has packed an amazing variety of perennials, trees, shrubs, and edibles onto the 2/3-acre lot surrounding her home.

www.DebraTheGardenSage.com




Steve Turner

EDUCATOR, Oakland Community College, Detroit

ARBORIST AND COLUMNIST

Steve Turner has been an arborist for over 30 years in the metropolitan Detroit area. He formally taught arboriculture, tree biomechanics, plant health and tree climbing at Oakland Community College. He is a columnist for Michigan Gardener writing the “Tree Tipps” column for 25 years. Steve is on the board of directors for Relief Michigan, a non-profit that works to educate the public about trees, doing community tree plantings every spring and fall.

Past board member of ISA Michigan, Steve is the owner of Arboricultural Services and has been using an air-spade to uncover and repair tree roots for over 25 years on thousands of trees.


Brenda Dziedzic

CONSERVATION SPECIALIST FOR Monarch Watch, AUTHOR AND HIGHLY REGARDED MOTH AND BUTTERFULY ADVOCATE

In 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives presented her with “The President’s Lifetime Achievement Award” in Washington D.C. Notably, Brenda is a conservation specialist for the prestigious Monarch Watch, part of the University of Kansas’ Science and Outreach program for invertebrates.

Brenda is the author of “Raising Butterflies in the Garden”, and founder of “Brenda’s Butterfly Habitat” butterfly house. She is a Michigan Advanced Master Gardener and was awarded Master Gardener of the Year 2007 for Wayne County by Michigan State University Extension. She teaches and presents all over the US and even gave a lesson on butterflies to students at Yantai Huasheng International School in Yantai, China through Skype and Zoom.


Pam Bennett

AUTHOR, PROGRAM DIRECTOR OF THE MASTER GARDENER VOLUNTEER PROGRAM FOR THE STATE OF OHIO; AND INTERIM PROGRAM DIRECTOR, CHADWICK ARBORETUM

Pam is an Associate Professor with The Ohio State University and serves as the Horticulture Educator for OSU Extension in Clark County as well as the Director for the State Master Gardener Volunteer Program Director. She is also Interim Chadwick Arboretum Program Director.

Pam specializes in herbaceous ornamental plant trials and presents programs on annuals and perennials as well as other landscape topics locally, statewide, and nationally.  Pam has also lectured in South Korea, China, Turkey and Greece.  She is a Clark County Park District Commissioner, a Board of Directors member for TAC and the Hartman Rock Garden and is the past president of the Friends of the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden.  

Pam is the co-author of the award-winning book Garden-pedia, An A-to- Z Guide to Gardening Terms, writes a weekly gardening column for eight counties receiving the Cox Publishing brands, authors the bi-monthly Ask the Expert Column for Ohio Gardening magazine and is a frequent writer for popular gardening magazines as well as trade publications. 


Ashley Kulhanek, MS

EXTENSION EDUCATOR, AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES OSU EXTENSION, MEDINA COUNTY, OHIO

Ashley Kulhanek is AG and Natural Resources Extension Educator in Medina County.  She earned her Master’s Degree in Entomology from Ohio State University and is committed to educating the public about how inextricable insects are to our daily lives.  She is a self-proclaimed bug nerd and crazy cat lady who loves teaching entomology and singing in the office.


Adam Baker, PHD

EDUCATOR, RESEARCHER, TECHNICAL ADVISOR FOR THE DAVEY INSTITUTE

Dr. Adam M. Baker provides support, educational training, and conducts research as a technical advisor with the Davey Institute. His expertise is in pollinator ecology, conservation, plant/insect interactions, and the responsible management of pests in the urban landscape. He received a BS in Agricultural Sciences with a minor in English and a PHD in Entomology from the University of Kentucky. Adam’s dissertation explored the ecology and conservation of the iconic monarch butterfly and invasive species interactions intersecting with their ongoing conservation efforts. He has published research articles on various insect taxa (Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, and Coleoptera), has provided numerous seminars at scientific, stakeholder, and green industry conferences, and is committed to advancing the fields of entomology, urban forestry, and plant health care.


Enrico Bonello, PHD

PROFESSOR, PLANT PATHOLOGY, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

Enrico Bonello is a chemical and molecular ecologist who studies interactions among trees, fungal pathogens, and insect pests. He is a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at Ohio State University and also holds appointments at Wright State University, The University of Florence, Italy, and Nanjing, China. He obtained a PH.D. in Forest Pathology from the University of Oxford, U.K. He then conducted postdoctoral studies in Germany and the University of California, Berkeley and Davis, before being hired as an Assistant Professor at Ohio State University in 2000. He was promoted to full professor in 2010.

His current research efforts are centered on understanding molecular and chemical mechanisms of tree resistance to both indigenous and alien invasive pathogens and insects, early diagnostics, and translation of fundamental knowledge into tools and policies to improve forest health protection around the world.


Carol Chernega

 AUTHOR, HORTICULTURALIST, COLUMNIST

Carol Chernega lives in Pittsburgh, PA but considers England her spiritual home. In 2005, she became the first international visitor for The Jane Austen Society of Noth America (JASNA), an award that sent her to live and work in England for two months, mainly at Jane Austen’s house. During that summer, she also traveled throughout England, visiting the homes of her favorite authors, an experience that became the core of her book A Dream House – Exploring the Literary Homes of England.

Carol has also written two tips e-booklets: How to Create an English Garden and Ten Mistakes Home Gardeners Make, both of which are available on Amazon Kindle.

Carol holds a. certificate in Horticulture from Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh and owns a garden maintenance business near Pittsburgh that specializes in pruning. Her Amazon DVD – Pruning Shrubs with Your Personal Gardener, teaches homeowners an easy method of pruning shrubs.


Carol writes an English garden column for Bellaonline and an e-book collection of her columns is available on that website. She’s also written for Pennsylvania Gardener and Green Prints Magazines among others.


Nathan Rutz

 DIRECTOR OF SOIL, RUST BELT RIDERS

Since 2014, Rust Best Riders has been working with people and organizations across Northeast Ohio to provide them with a clean and timely alternative to landfills for their food waste. By diverting food from the landfill, we support our local food system through the creation of value-added agricultural products.

Our mission: create wealth from waste in order to feed people, not landfills.
“There is no such thing as ‘away’ when we throw things away-it must go somewhere”
Annie Leonard in The Story of Stuff


Chuck Omer

SELF-TAUGHT STUDENT AND TEACHER OF BONSAI; CREATOR OF AMAZING SPECIMENS

Charles (Chuck) Omer is a semi-retired research scientist who worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 30 years.  His interest in bonsai started in the mid-1980s when he saw the collection at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania.  Since then, Chuck has viewed bonsai collections throughout the US and Japan and learned from American bonsai masters including Chase Rosade and Jack Wikle. 


Bill Hendricks

CEO, KLYN NURSERIES IN PERRY, OHIO AND CHAMPION OF OHIO MASTER GARDENER VOLUNTEERS

If you have never heard Bill Hendricks speak, you are in for a real horticulture treat!

Here’s what Nursery magazine had to say about him: “Bill has an insatiable thirst for plant and production knowledge. He possesses an encyclopedia-like knowledge of plants, yet he’s eager to find out about new selections. He’s incorporated some of the most innovative production techniques at Klyn Nurseries, but he continues to try new methods. He’s both a student and a teacher. He’s simultaneously the expert and the apprentice. Even with 50+ years of horticulture experience, Hendricks never stops learning.” His cactus and succulent collection of over 4,000 species started when he was nine years old is a continuing hobby.


Beth Murphy

CUYAHOGA COUNTY MASTER GARDENER

As president of the Avon Lake Garden Club, I needed a president’s project. Knowing bees were in trouble and we needed to raise awareness, I became the bee lady of Avon Lake. What was at first only an interest has turned into a mission. Today I frequently speak to audiences that know very little about solitary bees and I keep my knowledge current by taking classes at OARDC and online. 

Beth has been a Master Gardener since 2015 and among her many volunteer commitments, she is currently chair of the collaboration between MGCC, Cleveland Clinic and Notre Dame College. This program, started in 1989, provides summer support for children identified with ADHD so that they return to school in the Fall with their coping skills intact. She also chairs the Great Big Home and Garden Show each February.


Bob Wodzisz

BEEKEEPER

Bob Wodzisz is an experienced beekeeper with 4 apiaries and over 20 bee hives.   His mantra is “Bees are Jerks!” because of the number of variables in play with honey beekeeping. A beekeeper can only control a few variables and the bees control the rest. Bob has over 8 years of experience as a beekeeper and has mentored many new beekeepers in the science (and art) of beekeeping.

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