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Speakers

Gerard Donnelly

...is the President and CEO of The Morton Arboretum, near
Chicago, Illinois. He led the establishment of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative and the creation of the ArbNet professional network of arboreta, and has spearheaded partnerships to advance the goals of the Global Trees Campaign. Gerard has held leadership roles with the American Public Gardens Association and the Directors of Large Gardens network, and currently serves on the board of Botanic Gardens Conservation International, chairing its International Advisory Council. Trained as a botanist and forest ecologist, he holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University.

Ed Ikin

…is Head of Landscape and Horticulture at Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex, England, curating their 535-acre estate. He was previously General Manager for National Trust London, Head Gardener at Nymans (National Trust) and Assistant Head Gardener at Chelsea Physic Garden. Ed holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s Master of Horticulture award, has a B.S. in Biology and M.A. in Garden History, and is a trustee for London Parks & Gardens Trust.

Scott McMahan


...was born and raised in Decatur, Georgia. He was the propagator for a large wholesale grower for five years as well as the nursery manager at the Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) for several years before opening his first nursery. In 2003, Scott left ABG to open a nursery business in north Georgia called McMahan's Nursery.

In the fall of 2009, Scott helped to opened another retail nursery called Garden*Hood in downtown Atlanta. Between 2009 and 2016, Garden*Hood won multiple local awards including the "Best of the Big A" in the AJC and Creative Loafing's "Best Garden Shop". In early 2016, Scott sold much of his ownership in Garden*Hood and closed McMahan's Nursery in order to accept a full time position as the Manager of International Plant Exploration at ABG.

With this new position, Scott oversees plant collection and evaluation at ABG as well as the creation of a visiting scholar program to promote the exchange of knowledge and plants with other botanical institutions around the world. Since 2001, Scott has made more than 20 overseas scouting and collecting trips for ABG to China, Vietnam, India, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Bhutan, and Mexico.

Thomas Molnar

…is an Associate Professor in the Plant Biology Department at Rutgers University. He is responsible for a long-running program dedicated to the research and breeding of hazelnuts and woody ornamental landscape plants. The focus of the hazelnut program is breeding plants resistant to the Eastern filbert blight. The woody ornamental program is primarily focused on dogwoods, building upon decades of previous work at Rutgers. Thomas earned both a B.S. in Plant Science and Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Rutgers University.

Abby van den Berg

...is a Research Associate Professor at the University of Vermont (UVM), Proctor Maple Research Center in Underhill, VT, and has been conducting research on maple tree physiology and maple syrup production since 2001. Her current research includes the long-term effects of tapping on tree growth and health, practices to maximize sap yields, the effects of processing technologies on syrup composition and flavor, and developing tapping guidelines and best practices for birch sap collection and syrup production. Abby earned her Ph.D. in Plant Biology from UVM in 2007.

Michael Yanny

...and his wife Lori own JN Plant Selections, LLC, in Milwaukee, WI. This is a new plant development company that concentrates on developing tough, hardy, woody plants for the cold regions of the world. Prior to Michael’s business venture, he worked for 35 years at Johnson’s Nursery, also in Wisconsin, as their plant propagator. It was while he was at Johnson’s Nursery that he selected and introduced numerous woody plants. Michael is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a B.S. in Horticulture.

 
   
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