Meet Our Instructors
Mary Anne Alvin has studied Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design, Botanical Art and Illustration, and Floral Design at Phipps, earning certificates in each of these areas. She is a Phipps Master Gardener and docent, and is a stained glass artist.
Marilyn Apostolou is the director of market development for Apostolou Associates, Architects/Designers — a firm that provides total architectural services, including interior and exterior design. She is a graduate of the Phipps Master Gardener program.
Joshua Beblo holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Education from Duquesne University. He is an adjunct professor at Chatham University, and teaches courses on design and professional practice in the landscape architecture program.
Mike Bechtel is an outdoor display horticulturist at Phipps. There, he maintains the Rooftop Edible Garden, where he grows some of the food used in Café Phipps’ healthy and delicious dishes.
Daviea Davis is a self-taught master glass mosaic artist and teacher. She has been peppering Pittsburgh with color and light for 17 years. Her work can be seen all over the city, including at the Pittsburgh International Airport.
Bob Egan, an amateur photographer turned professional, specializes in landscapes, close-ups and natural abstracts. He has taught many photography classes for Phipps and displayed his work at the Conservatory, Powdermill Nature Reserve and The Andy Warhol Museum.
Melissa Fabian, an art educator for 35 years, holds a Bachelor of Science in art education from Edinboro University and a Master of Education from Duquesne University. She is the owner of Wild Rose Landscape Design.
Cyndi Fink is a technical marketing representative for Lanxess Corporation. She earned a Master of Science in plant ecology and a Bachelor of Science in environmental chemistry at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. In 1998, she received the Edna Bailey Sussman Award for ecological research on rare orchids and she taught dendrology for two semesters.
Darrell Frey has a B.S. in sustainable community development, permaculture design and environmental studies. He is the owner of Three Sisters Farm and Bioshelter, where he has been producing food since 1989, and the author of Bioshelter Market Garden.
Jessica Graves, the founder of Una Biologicals, is an herbalist and healer at heart. Having studied plants and their uses for more than 20 years, she loves sharing traditional herbal knowledge and empowering people to take charge of their own health and wellness through her work.
Kevin Haughey, the bonsai manager at Phipps, has more than 25 years of experience with this ancient art form. He is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and a member of the Pittsburgh Bonsai Society.
Chris Holt has been a Phipps Master Gardener since 1999. She speaks regularly to garden clubs and organizations across the region, including programs at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Retired from teaching art, she is now an award-winning blacksmith artist who creates botanically-themed pieces.
Walter Jarosh, a certified arborist and forester, and retired superintendent of Parks, Buildings and Forestry, now provides tree valuations and risk assessment through his consulting company Walter Jarosh, LLC. and teaches classes for CCAC, Phipps and the U.S. Army.
Leslie Kaplan is a Phipps Master Gardener and owner of Rush Creek Design, specializing in residential gardens. She enjoys collecting and using unusual and rare plants in her gardens.
Korkey Noah Kibbey has over 20 years of experience in a diversity of design styles, working both in wholesale and retail, which has led to success as a freelance designer. Currently, he is a principle creative visionary for many local event florists and retailers.
Rose Kocher is the lead designer of greenSinner Floral and Garden located in upper Lawrenceville. greenSinner tries to source as much product locally as possible and uses sustainable practices.
Deborah Kopka, a botanical artist for more than 20 years, has taught botanical illustration in such venues as the Toledo Museum of Art, Matthaei Botanical Gardens, and Nichols Arboretum at the University of Michigan since 2004. She is a graduate of the London Art College.
Linda Kramer completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at The Pennsylvania State University. After 20 years as an estate gardener, she now works as a landscape gardener. She has taught many workshops and classes for the Master Gardener program.
Amy Lindenberger, a charter and signature member of the Colored Pencil Society of America, graduated with honors from the University of Akron with a B.F.A. in drawing. She has been a professional artist and a colored pencil instructor for more than 25 years.
Jimmy Lohr is the CEO of greenSinner Floral and Garden located in upper Lawrenceville. greenSinner tries to source as much product locally as possible and uses sustainable practices.
Elizabeth Lynch received her Permaculture Design Certification in 2009 and is passionate about making sustainability accessible to the Pittsburgh community. She holds a B.S. in wildlife and fisheries science from The Pennsylvania State University.
Demetria Marsh, a lifetime member of the Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania, has more than 35 years of growing experience, earning her national awards and two orchid hybrids now bearing her name. She also works to enhance Phipps’ orchid collection.
Nancy Martin is the project coordinator of the Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) Watershed Awareness Program. She is also an instructor for PRC’s Recycling Awareness Program and presents teacher workshops addressing various environmental topics.
Michele Frey McCann, a landscape architect with 25 plus years of professional experience, is a Chatham University adjunct faculty member, and has served as a Longwood Gardens outdoor display specialist and a Phipps exhibit manager and designer.
Robin Menard shares her love of nature and art by capturing botanicals in graphite, ink, watercolor and colored pencil. She is also a graphic designer and marketer, and an American Society of Botanical Artists and Allegheny Highlands Botanical Art Society member.
Sarah Needham, the owner of LeafHopper Designs, an eco-chic boutique featuring upcycled bouquets and more, has worked as a freelancer for numerous floral shops in Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh.
Juliette Olshock studied sustainable agriculture and permaculture design at Slippery Rock University. She has worked with several experts, teaching courses on edible forests and permaculture design, as well as a sustainability lab at Chatham University.
Jeanne Perrier, a graduate of Phipps’ Botanical Art and Illustration certificate program, has participated in numerous exhibitions, most recently winning Best of Show at the Washington County Arts Council Gallery. She is a faculty member at the Oil Valley Center for the Arts.
Dr. Norbert Pietrzak, a student of John Y. Naka, is cofounder of the Pittsburgh Bonsai Society. He has studied bonsai in Japan, China and Korea, and his work has been exhibited in Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Kansas City and other cities.
Marianne Pionati-Hilke trained at the Ivy School of Art followed by the Rhode Island School of Photography but was most inspired while studying in Rome, where she developed a passion for painting.
Linda Roos, a Phipps horticulture certificate program graduate, now enjoys sharing the important lessons she has learned from her training with novices. A Phipps Master Gardner, she has been teaching in the Pittsburgh area since 1999.
Roxanne Swann has been a green industry professional for 25 years, previously serving as an environmental botanist and horticulturist. She is now the coordinator of the Audubon Center for Native Plants at the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania whose mission is to promote, protect and propagate western Pa. native plants.
Stan Swartz has studied T’ai Chi Ch’uan since 1973, teaching in New York City, Florida, Europe and Puerto Rico. For over 25 years, he has offered beginning through advanced level classes in Pittsburgh.
Daniel Yobp is an expert bonsai practitioner who has studied extensively in Osaka, Japan. He enjoys educating students on design principles of bonsai. His interest in teaching the art stems from his
studies at Edinboro University where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in oil painting.
Photo © Paul g. Wiegman