Board of Directors

President: Chris Gatti
Senior Principal Master Gardener

Driven by a strong love of learning, Chris has spent her career working in education, training, and organizational development roles. Now semi-retired, she was an elementary school teacher and a corporate trainer before opening her own consulting firm. Growing up on her grandfather’s tomato farm, Chris developed a passion for gardening. She attended the MMGA Home Horticultural Evening Lecture Series before becoming a Master Gardener in 2016. She previously held the Board positions of MMGA External Programming Coordinator and Vice President. Chris lives in Ashland with her husband, David, and their very smart and curious Maine coon cat, Mia.

Past President: Cindy Edwards
Lifetime Master Gardener

Cindy gardens in Westford where she lives with her husband, Mark, and their two Siamese cats in a cold spot in USDA Hardiness Zone 5. Her older son, Stephen, works in television, and her younger son, Peter, is a scientist. Cindy’s “day job,” which gets in the way of all the good stuff/gardening, is in compensation. Always tearing out grass to make room for more plants, Cindy continually tries to find room for one more really cool one, especially if it’s a peony or hosta.

External Vice President: Liz McCarron
Senior Principal Master Gardener

Liz has worked in higher education for many years. She currently teaches computer courses at a local university. When not enlightening young minds about the wonders of technology, she gardens north of Boston in a yard that includes a vegetable garden, various fruit gardens (grapes, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries), a small woodland, and perennial gardens for both shade and sun. In addition to her role on the 2021-22 MMGA Board, Liz also chairs the MMGA Gardening Symposium Committee.

External Vice President: Erica Bond
Principal Master Gardener

A native plant enthusiast with a passion for ecological gardening, in addition to being a Principal Master Gardener, Erica has also earned a certificate in Native Plant Studies from Native Plant Trust. Having spent twenty years as co-owner of an independent financial planning firm, these days Erica calls herself a “professional volunteer.” In addition to the MMGA, she is on the board of directors of the Needham Community Farm, is budget chair of the League of Women Voters of Needham, and also helps other community organizations. Erica lives in Needham, where she has a tenth grader, two college-age children, and their rescue dog, Mavis.

Treasurer: Linda Austin
Principal Master Gardener

Linda is happily retired from a career in technology and finance. A fan of Japanese gardens, she tends an ever growing collection of Japanese maples. (There’s always room for one more!) In addition to gardening she enjoys quilting, working with power tools(!), and new adventures and is a firm believer in lifelong learning. Linda lives and gardens in South Weymouth with her husband, Bob, and rescue pup, Ella. One of our boomerangs, in 2019-20 she served on the MMGA Board as Membership Coordinator.

Clerk:  Jane Brand
Certified Master Gardener

Prior to becoming a Master Gardener, Jane spent decades working as a litigator and has served onboards of other organizations, including her local garden club. Jane’s gardening interests include shade plants, native plants, and pollinators. During the gardening season, Jane can be found reducing the size of her lawn by adding native plants and doing battle with invasives. When not otherwise busy, Jane enjoys traveling with her husband, spending time with her grown children, reading, and walking on the beach with her dog.

Certification Coordinator:  Brenda Walker Homan
Principal Master Gardener

Educating children has always been Brenda’s passion. After 23 year as a Kindergarten teacher in Hackensack, NJ, an ethnically diverse community just outside New York City, she retired and relocated to Auburndale, MA. She is a member of the Monarch Teacher Network, utilizing monarch butterflies to teach children about life cycles, migrations, and the many cultures touched by the monarch migration. She enjoys teaching children the benefits of gardening and locally grown food, especially in school settings including the Epiphany School in Dorchester, an MMGA Outreach site.

Communication Coordinator:  Ann Hopps Morgan
Lifetime Master Gardener

After decades as a marketing strategist for clients such as American Express, AT&T, Celebrity Cruises, and Dell, Ann is happily pursuing her gardening passion and volunteering to help several non-profits with marketing. This is her second term as Communications Coordinator, and she is especially proud of the MMGA’s newsletter, The Dirt, which has over 4,000 subscribers! Ann learned to garden as a toddler at the dirty knees of her great aunt. She currently gardens on 1/10 th of a shady acre in Boston and vacations with husband Keith on their 30+ acre “gentleperson’s farm” in Pennsylvania Dutch country.

Education Coordinator:  Tracy Firth
Principal Master Gardener

Tracy previously served on the MMGA Board as Clerk. She has also been our liaison with the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and has volunteered as Elm Bank Greenhouse Coordinator. At her old farm in Walpole, Tracy fusses in a few raised beds but spends most of her outside time working on a massive restoration project across the entire property. She credits Master Gardener training and continuing education with giving her the knowledge and confidence to undertake this lifelong project.

External Programming Coordinator:  Yvonne Watson
Certified Master Gardener

Yvonne is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher and school administrator. Most dear to her heart are her two adult children, who live in London and Boston. Toward the end of her BPS career, Yvonne discovered her love for gardening and returned to school to study design at the Landscape Design Institute and Boston Architectural College. In 2011 she started her own garden design firm, working with residential and small commercial clients. Her business has given her not only pleasure in creating with nature but also the opportunity to hire young people and help them develop valuable skills through the Commonwealth’s YouthWorks program.

Gardening Coordinator:  Elena Bortolan Larco
Certified Master Gardener

Elena was born and raised in Vicenza, Italy and has a degree in Industrial Engineering (University of Padua) and an MBA (University of Bologna). After extensive travel implementing “Lean” business optimization projects in Europe, North and Central America, and Australia, she is now pursuing her real interest, learning about the natural world, which has always fascinated her. Since completing Master Gardener Training, Elena has volunteered at various MMGA project gardens. She loved the training program and the opportunity to continue learning from fellow MGs working at the gardens. She also enjoys traveling and playing piano with her husband. Elena is fluent in English, Italian, and Spanish.

IT Coordinator:  Yola Cabrillana
Principal Master Gardener

Yola is a graduate of the Master Gardener Training program in the Spring of 2011. Born and raised in the City of Boston; she developed a love of outdoor gardening at a young age while working nights at the City and having days free to play in her garden. Yola developed such an interest in plant texture, placement and design, she attended many classes at The Landscape Institute to feed her need for horticultural knowledge.  Yola’s newest endeavor is creating a woodland garden at her vacation home in Northern New Hampshire. Yola has served on the board as the Outreach Coordinator, the Communication Coordinator and currently manages the organization’s IT infrastructure.

Membership Coordinator: Marian LeMay
Certified Master Gardener

When she became a Master Gardener, Marian finally made a professional pivot to follow her lifelong gardening interests. She is the former director of a German-American business networking organization where she organized events and cared for members. Prior to this she was deeply involved for 20 years in the art world of Washington, DC, Munich, and London as a museum exhibit designer, mural painter, art dealer, children’s book illustrator, and logo designer. Born in Maryland of German and Dutch parents, she was raised in a household of gardeners. Her personal challenge is gardening in the shade under sixty hemlocks.

Outreach Coordinator: Paula Peterson
Certified Master Gardener

In her professional life, Paula was the founder and executive director of a children’s museum in southeastern Massachusetts and continues to be an enthusiastic volunteer for many regional non-profits. With a passion for lifelong learning, she is thrilled to share her love of gardening with her sons, stepsons, and especially her two young grandchildren. Paula gardens on a wooded acre in rural Berkley — always battling the shade — and travels whenever she can with her husband, Steve, in their 24-foot motor home “the Tin Can.”

Regions Coordinator: Ann McCarten
Senior Principal Master Gardener

Having organized her first public book sale at age 10, Ann is a lifelong entrepreneur. Before moving to management on the corporate side, she applied her graduate business degree to found and grow two businesses offering market research and database services. Now her entrepreneurial passion will focus on coordinating the MMGA’s four regions. Although an avid gardener for 35 years, it wasn’t until she earned her Master Gardener certification that she felt she’d found her calling and her true home. Ann lives with her husband, Chris Patton, and their two dogs and (sometimes) her two adult sons and their dogs!

Master Gardener Training Coordinator: Kathie Skinner
Certified Master Gardener

Kathie is a recently retired education policy researcher and writer but continues this work in her own small consulting business. She gardens on Martha’s Vineyard, focusing on trees, shrubs, grasses, and perennials that deer don’t particularly find appealing! Kathie is also a tour guide at the Polly Hill Arboretum in West Tisbury. She has been married for 30 years and has five fabulous grandkids. Kathie and her husband, Phil, are avid travelers who love visiting gardens and natural landscapes in other parts of the country and the world.

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