MMGA Board of Directors and Committee Members
The work of the Michigan Master Gardener Association is provided by an all-volunteer board and volunteer committees that help guide the organization's communications, membership development and finances. For more on the structure of the board and the bylaws of the organization, please click here.
To learn more about the organization and opportunities for you to volunteer please contact one of the board members or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive Committee Members
NAME AND MMGA POSITION: Ruth Steele Walker, President, Communications Committee [Chairperson], Leadership Committee
HOMETOWN: Omena, MI
PROFESSION/OCCUPATION: Marketing Communications Consultant. I retired as Advertising Manager of Farmers Insurance Company and promptly flunked retirement.
LOCAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION: Master Gardener Association of Northwest Michigan
HOBBIES: Reading murder mysteries and thrillers, walking our five year old lab Brit, sewing, knitting and stomping out invasives -- both native and non-native like Tree of Heaven and Sumac.
FAVORITE TRAVEL LOCATION: Australia
FAVORITE DRINK: Wine, water and coffee
WHAT I LIKE TO GROW: Perennials - native and adaptable. I love color in my garden and lots of blooms at all seasons! I also love to grow culinary herbs and occasionally try my hand at topiary and bonsai.
WHY I GARDEN: It's part of my heritage. My farmer father grew fruit - cherries, apples and prunes while my city-born and bred mother mowed about an acre of orchard grass for lawn and surrounded that with seven flower beds and her "naturalized garden" which would be called a native garden today. Some of the earliest photos of me are in her gardens!
SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU: I once had the opportunity to interview Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.
NAME AND MMGA POSITION: Diane Zeimen, Vice President, Membership Committee [Chairperson], Finance Committee, Nomination Committee, Leadership Committee
HOMETOWN: Mikado, MI
PROFESSION/OCCUPATION: I'm supposed to be retired.
LOCAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION: Alcona Master Gardener Association
HOBBIES: I like to cook, read, garden, and do whatever else strikes my fancy.
FAVORITE TRAVEL LOCATION: I like to travel to somewhere I've never been before.
FAVORITE DRINK: I love hot chocolate.
WHAT I LIKE TO GROW: I like to grow everything.
WHY I GARDEN: It relaxes me and I always have something to show for my efforts.
NAME AND MMGA POSITIONS: Vicki Laurin, Secretary, Communications Committee
HOMETOWN: Burton MI
PROFESSION/OCCUPATION: Retired, but works part time as a book merchandiser at Michaels Arts and Crafts.
LOCAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION: Master Gardeners of Genesee County
FAVORITE DRINK: Too many to have just one!
WHAT I LIKE TO GROW: My new favorite, hydrangeas.
WHY I GARDEN: It's a great stress reliever, and I enjoy the benefits of seeing the beautiful flowers in bloom.
NAME AND MMGA POSITIONS: Colleen Gabrielle Petersen, Treasurer, Finance Committee [Chairperson], Communication Committee, Leadership Committee
HOMETOWN: Ada, MI
PROFESSION/OCCUPATION: I own a software development firm that specializes in mobile-ready websites and applications.
LOCAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION: West Michigan Master Gardener Association
HOBBIES: Piano, Guitar, Reading, Playing board games, gardening
FAVORITE TRAVEL LOCATION: Punta Cana, DR
FAVORITE DRINK: Paloma
WHAT I LIKE TO GROW: Native plants and vegetables
WHY I GARDEN: I grew up gardening with my Mom and it’s always been a part of my life. I’m a geek – being outside is not something I generally enjoy. Gardening gets me out there doing something that I love
MMGA Board Directors
NAME AND MMGA POSITIONS: Linda Andriacchi, Director, Communication Committee, Leadership Committee
HOMETOWN: Marquette (born and raised) and Ishpeming (current)
PROFESSION/OCCUPATION: Office manager/secretary working with both my husband and son in our law office in Ishpeming.
HOBBIES: I love gardening, learning about gardening, shopping for new and exciting plants and teaching gardening subjects.
FAVORITE TRAVEL LOCATION: My favorite travel location is anywhere there is either a gardening related educational seminar or amazing nurseries. Mackinac Island, Detroit area, Grand Rapids, Kenosha and Racine, Wisconsin, and the Chicago area to name a few.
FAVORITE DRINK: Coffee
WHAT I LIKE TO GROW: I am a plant collector and like to grow new and unusual ornamental plants. My dream would be to open a garden shop specializing in new and unusual plants. I would love to have a Proven Winners Signature Garden. I am also experimenting with vegetables and other edible plants. I garden because it is the best time to solve problems, create beauty, and work with nature. Watching the bees, butterflies, birds, frogs, fish and other wildlife gives me pleasure. Seeing them throughout the garden enjoying themselves and their antics makes me happy.
WHY I GARDEN: I am an Advanced Master Gardener with an area of specialization in garden design, member of the Board of Directors of the Michigan Master Gardeners Association, Inc., member of the Board of Directors of Partridge Creek Farm, Inc., the Chairperson of the Ishpeming Beautification Committee, EMSUE Smart Gardener, member of the Northern Michigan University Women's Garden Group and I teach Gardening 101 for Community Schools in the spring. I love teaching gardening related subjects hopefully spreading my enthusiasm and love of gardening to others. It makes me very happy to seesomeone I have taught go further to become a master gardener. Working with the City of Ishpeming and the volunteers, seeing their joy and hearing their excitement when they are working in their designated gardens, is very gratifying. Having the City implement my ideas into their various projects makes me proud and happy knowing that I helped them create something beautiful and an environment enjoyable to live in.
NAME AND MMGA POSITIONS: Sue Ann Aagaard, Director, Communications Committee, Leadership Committee [Chairperson]
HOMETOWN: Greenville, Michigan
PROFESSION/OCCUPATION: Speech and Language Pathologist [retired]
LOCAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION: Montcalm Area Master Gardeners Association
HOBBIES: Travel, Arabian horses, photography and gardening
FAVORITE TRAVEL LOCATION: Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, Canada, England and Michigan
FAVORITE DRINK: water, wine, infused drinks
WHAT I LIKE TO GROW: peonies, lilies, lilacs and native plants
WHY I GARDEN: to be close to nature and I enjoy sharing flowers from my garden with friends and family. I also like taking pictures of flowers and nature.
NAME AND MMGA POSITIONS: Belinda Laughlin, Director, Finance Committee, Membership Committee
HOMETOWN: Mt. Pleasant, MI
PROFESSION/OCCUPATION: Director Field Services, Special Olympics Michigan Inc.
LOCAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION OR CHAPTER: Isabella/Gratiot Counties
FAVORITE TRAVEL LOCATION: Any place with my husband
FAVORITE DRINK: White Zinfandel or Mike's Hard Lite Lemonade
WHAT I LIKE TO GROW: Everything but roses
WHY I GARDEN: It is cheaper than therapy and I get tomatoes!
NAME AND MMGA POSITIONS: Jan Rise, Director, Finance Committee, Membership Committee
HOMETOWN: Bay City, MI
PROFESSION/OCCUPATION: Retired - Licensed Independent Insurance Agent
HOBBIES: Playing Golf, travel (with husband) and camping around Michigan
FAVORITE TRAVEL LOCATION: Working my way around the U.S.
FAVORITE DRINK: Coca Cola
WHAT I LIKE TO GROW: My personal garden is a wildlife habitat garden including an ornamental fish pond. Native woody ornamentals, herbaceous plants, trees and bulbs for a four season garden. I also grow herbs, asparagus, tomatoes, apples and rhubarb. All on a city lot.
WHY I GARDEN: My earliest garden memories are from my mother and grandmother. Both of my families were historically farmers, growing much of the food they consumed. I was born on a milk farm in Marshall, Michigan. Early on in my life we moved to a more urban home, but still continued to grow a vegetable garden and had a pear orchard.
My mother planted Dahlias for many years from my earliest memories. It was always fun to get the tubers out in the spring to weed out the good ones for that year’s planting. I remember when quite young my mother putting in the vegetable garden with my “help.” I guess I was born with a passion for gardening and an appreciation for all plants, food or ornamental. I enjoying sharing my gardening passion with others and sharing my garden knowledge. My favorite part of gardening is when I sit in my garden relaxing and enjoying time there.
NAME AND MMGA POSITIONS: Norman Scherr, Director, Membership Committee, Finance Committee, Nomination Committee
HOMETOWN: Ann Arbor MI
PROFESSION/OCCUPATION: Engineer (Electrical and Software)
HOBBIES: Flying aircraft (models and real), volunteering, golfing
FAVORITE TRAVEL LOCATION: All points USA with the kids and grandkids
FAVORITE DRINK: Iced tea (real, unsweetened with lemon from Long Island)
WHAT I LIKE TO GROW: veggies (all kinds), orchids, roses, bonsai
WHY I GARDEN: I like to be at ground level sometimes.
SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU: I like to visit East Lansing to see the Green.
Michelle Chockley, Finance Committee
NAME AND MMGA POSITION[S]: Kathy Fiebig, Communication Committee
HOMETOWN: Portage MI
PROFESSION/OCCUPATION: Landscape Specialist
LOCAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION OR CHAPTER: Kalamazoo County Master Gardeners
HOBBIES: reading, gardening, marveling at the wonder of nature, and talking to my dog.
FAVORITE TRAVEL LOCATION: I'm not fond of travel so I only live in places I love and I am then content to stay there.
FAVORITE DRINK: tart cherry juice
WHAT I LIKE TO GROW: organic vegetables and native plants
WHY I GARDEN: I'd always rather be outside than inside, I like plants and animals more than I like people, and I love everything about gardening. It's also in my genes--my paternal grandparents entire back yard was a vegetable garden, flanked by grapevines and fruit trees. I loved trailing behind my grandmother as she picked fresh veggies for dinner, and to this day, I can eat my dinner by browsing through the veggie garden.
Melville Kennedy, Communication Committee [Facebook page], Membership Committee
Advisor to the board:
Mary Wilson, State Coordinator
Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program
HOMETOWN: Novi, MI