530-458-3190 margoc@frontiernet.net

These are last year’s speakers.  Stay tuned.

Julia Bell

julia-bellJulia Bell is the Creative Director at Succulent Gardens. As such, she’s responsible for overall site planning and design, event planning, and outreach programs. Julia has been working in the landscape design business in the Monterey Bay area for the past 15 years, and is the owner of Bell & Flourish Design Collective in Santa Cruz.

She has a background in botany, landscape design, and fine art, with an interest in native ecology. She pursued her formal education at UCSC, receiving a BA in Art, and BA in Biology, as well as through Cabrillo and West Valley College where she studied Landscape Design & Architecture, Horticulture, Engineering Technology, and Graphic Design.


Ann-Marie Benz

ann-marieAnn-Marie joined ReScape California as their Executive Director in December 2014. The past decade she has spent in watershed work in central Arizona, because in the arid Southwest there is very little more important than water. She grew up in Southern California in an area that had advertisements showing flowing creeks that were actually being bottled by water companies.

As David James Duncan wrote, “I was born, then, without a watershed. On a planet held together by gravity and fed by rain, a planet who’s every creature depends on water and whose every slope works full-time, for eternity, to create creeks and rivers. I was born with neither.” This has driven her to work towards healthy environments and to being Bay-Friendly. Working at ReScape California is her part of trying to make our community the best place it can be.

Jim Borneman

jim-bournemanJim Borneman is the Vice President – Emeritus of the Education Department at Ewing Irrigation Products. He attended Chico State College and has a degree in Business Management from St. Mary’s College of California. Jim is a former Licensed Texas Irrigator and has held certifications as a Designer, Contractor, and Irrigation Auditor with the Irrigation Association.

After a sabbatical in 2012, Jim returned to Ewing to continue his efforts in curriculum development with a greater emphasis on teaching as opposed to the many administrative responsibilities associated with leading Ewing’s Education Department. 2016 marked Jim’s 42nd year in the landscape industry. During this time Jim has worked in a variety of sales and operations positions with manufacturers and distributors. Prior to coming to Ewing in 1994 he was the Director of Education for the Irrigation Association.

Industry education has been a focus and a passion for Jim since the late 1970’s and over the years he has trained tens of thousands of Landscape Professionals. Jim joins us with a passion for water conservation that is a natural part of his legacy as a fourth generation Californian.

Dr. Christine A. Casey PhD

chrisProgram Representative, Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, University of California, Davis, Department of Entomology. 2013-present. Manage the operations, outreach, and education program of a pollinator education and research garden that has 5000 visitors per year. Evaluate ornamental plants for their value as bee forage.

Program Manager, Bedding and Potted Color Plant Pest Management Alliance, University of California, Davis, Department of Entomology. 2009 to 2013. Coordinate activities of the Bedding and Container Color Plant Pest Management Alliance, a team of growers, researchers, extension agents and pest control advisors that is implementing an integrated pest management program in California bedding plants.

Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, North Carolina State University, Department of Entomology. 2002 to 2007. Develop and implement integrated pest management programs in ornamental crops.

Graduate Research Assistant, University of California, Davis,
Department of Entomology. 1997 to 2002. Coordinated field research of the Rose Pest Management Alliance, a team of growers, researchers, extension agents and pest control advisors that is implementing an integrated pest management program in California cut roses.

Integrated Pest Management Specialist, New York State Integrated Pest Management Program, Cornell University. 1994 to 1997. Led integrated pest management demonstration and applied research projects at commercial greenhouses and nurseries in central and western New York.

Biologist, National Park Service, Washington, DC. 1994. Developed and taught training courses on integrated pest management for National Park Service personnel.

Ornamentals Integrated Pest Management Program Manager, University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service. 1990 to 1991. Developed and implemented ornamentals integrated pest management programs for greenhouses, nurseries, landscape sites, Christmas tree farms, golf courses and parks throughout Maryland.

Integrated Pest Management Extension Agent, Ornamental Horticulture, Rutgers Cooperative Extension. 1986 to 1990. Developed and implemented ornamentals integrated pest management programs for nurseries, landscape sites, Christmas tree farms, golf courses and parks throughout New Jersey.

Owen Dell

owen-dellOwen Dell and Associates, LLC is an internationally recognized landscape architecture firm that has been at the forefront of many of the sustainable landscaping practices in use worldwide. They are masters of the complex art and science of sustainable landscape design.

They have a passionate commitment to genuine sustainability. Their 44 years in the business have taught them that landscapes can go beyond sustainability and become part of a better future, while making beautiful spaces for people to enjoy. Service is their other passion; they have a time-tested commitment to meeting the needs of their clients.

Owen Dell, RLA, ASLA is an Oregon-registered landscape architect (License No. LA798). He is also a certified master water auditor and a certified permaculture designer. Owen Dell and Associates, LLC provides landscape architectural services in the state of Oregon. In addition to landscape architectural services, Owen Dell is an author, speaker and educator.

Jim Huston

hustonJim Huston has over 35 years of diverse business management experience and holds an MBA degree in finance. He is also a member of the American Society of Professional Estimators. He is a Certified Professional Landscape Estimator and he is one of only two such CPLEs in the world.

As a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, he held positions in finance, aviation supply inventory management and procurement. After his tour of duty, he became a senior production controls analyst for the Electronics Division of General Dynamics. Since 1987, he has been a management consultant to the Green industry. Early in his career, he was in charge of the consulting division for Charles Vander Koi and Associates, Inc. In 1989 he formed J.R. Huston Enterprises. In addition he is an author and a software developer.

Aaron Ryan

aaron-ryanRyan has been working in the field of horticulture for going on 15 years. He studied biology at the University of California at Santa Cruz and worked for the UCSC Arboretum during his time at university. It was here where he met Steve McCabe, curator of succulents at the time, and first developed his interest in succulent plants.

He started the succulent program while working as production manager for Cottage Gardens of Petaluma. He joined the team at Succulent Gardens in the summer of 2015 as the Grower and became General Manager in the spring of 2016.


Renee Shepherd

reneeRenee Shepherd is widely regarded as a pioneering innovator in introducing international vegetables, flowers and herbs to home gardeners and gourmet restaurants. She founded Shepherd’s Garden Seeds in 1985 (later selling the company) and established Renee’s Garden to do what she likes best – searching out the very best seeds from around the world, testing them in her own gardens, cooking and developing recipes around their unique characteristics, and sharing them with other gardeners.

Renee lectures widely at national and regional garden shows and is a featured speaker at numerous gardening conferences. She has many community and environmental interests and serves on the Planning Commission for Santa Cruz County, California. She is currently the president of the Home Garden Seed Association and has served on the board of the National Garden Association. In 2015, Renee received the American Horticultural Society’s Great American Gardener Paul Ecke Jr. award for her “commitment to the highest standards of excellence in commercial horticulture and the betterment of gardening practices everywhere.”

In addition to her passions for gardening and cooking, Renee loves trail riding on her horse, Teddy and taking walks in the Santa Cruz mountains with Elliot, her happy golden lab.