Sharon Collman, Extension Educator for Horticulture/IPM, Snohomish County, Washington State University, Everett, WA

How it all Started: The Story of the First Master Gardener Program(Friday morning keynote presentation)

Sharon J. Collman was a founding member of the pilot WSU Master Gardener Program in 1973.  She guided the program during its formative stages and continues to teach entomology, IPM and plant problem diagnosis for Master Gardener classes.  Sharon has authored over 75 extension publications, magazine articles and book chapters on integrated pest management, water quality, plant problem diagnosis, invasive species and entomology.  Sharon has won numerous state and national awards for her educational programs. She is an avid photographer and gardener and is currently developing a garden for insects including pollinators. 

Nicholas Staddon, Former Director of New Plant Introductions, Monrovia - Brea, CA

The New American Garden™” (Friday evening keynote presentation)

New and Underused Shade Plants for the Midwest” (Breakout presentation repeated twice on Saturday)

Nicholas Staddon has been working with plant breeders, hybridizers, and professional Plant Explorers for the last 25 years. Scouring the globe for new creations and discoveries in the plant world. Nicholas is also sought out as a resource and guest for television and radio gardening shows across the United States. Nicholas works closely with professional Garden Writers, providing information on plants both old and new – sharing his views on garden trends and more.  Nicholas has created a series of informative ‘Plant Savvy’ videos that can be found on line. Born in England, Nicholas attended Otley Agricultural College where he received his credentials in Agricultural Science’s. Most recently working At Monrovia Nursery for nearly 27 years, 15 of which he lead the New Plant program. When first in America, he managed garden centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. He says of New Mexico, "One of the most beautiful places in the world—the vistas will move your heart and the gardening will break it." Nicholas now resides in California and continues to be consumed with a passion for plants and animals. He travels extensively for in his quest for great new and notable plants for American gardeners.

Steve Foltz, Director of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Cincinnati, OH

Public Gardens' Role in Plant Conservation and Horticulture Education (Saturday morning keynote presentation)

"Steve's Favorite Woody Plants" (Saturday morning breakout session)

Steve Foltz, Director of Horticulture at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, has been with the Zoo for 21 years. Steve is responsible for one of the area’s largest plant collections that include 3,000 varieties of trees, shrubs, tropical plants, grasses, bulbs, perennials and annuals. His expertise is widely-known in the industry and he is frequently asked to speak to horticulture groups. A graduate of the University of Kentucky with a B.S. in Ornamental Horticulture, he is currently teaching Horticulture at both Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and at the University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Lucy Bradley, Associate Professor & Extension Specialist Urban Horticulture & Master Gardener, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

Master Gardener Volunteers Power the Future of Home Gardening(Saturday luncheon keynote presentation)

Dr. Lucy Bradley works for the NC State Department of Horticultural Science as the Urban Horticulture Specialist where she directs consumer horticulture, community gardening, and therapeutic horticulture programs. She is the coordinator for Plants, Pests & Pathogens a bimonthly two hour, web based, in-service training for North Carolina horticulture Agents and Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. She is also a regular panelist on the UNC-TV Almanac Gardener television show. 

Dr. Bradley directs the North Carolina Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program in which over 4,000 highly trained volunteers work with NC Cooperative Extension to provide gardeners with unbiased, research based information on gardens, lawns and landscapes. Currently there are 4,200 volunteers who donate 165,000 hours of service and contribute 1.5 million dollars in in-kind donations each year.