Meet the gardeners, horticulturists, Nature Reserve staff and other team members who help make Forest Park the magnificent place it is.


Land Management Leadership

DAVID ROWAN HORTICULTURE FOREMAN EMAIL | P: 314.932.5950

DAVID ROWAN
HORTICULTURE FOREMAN
EMAIL | P: 314.932.5950

 

David, who joined FPF in early 2014, is a 2004 graduate of Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Horticulture with an emphasis in Landscape Design. David brings more than 12 years of experience to FPF, having worked with several private landscape design firms and as a Landscape Designer and Operations Manager with a national commercial landscape company. 

David is a member of the Pi Alpha Xi National Honor Society for Horticulture Education. Dedicated to expanding his horticulture knowledge annually by taking continuing education studies under the leading educators in their field, David recently participated in an intensive course in Soil Fertility and Microbiology taught by renowned scientist, Elaine Ingham, a Soil Biology Researcher and Rodale Institute’s Chief Scientist. 

 

Nature Reserve Stewards

Amy Witt Zone 4 — Nature Reserve (Kennedy Forest, Kennedy Savanna, and Wildlife Island) Amy joined FPF in October of 2012. She moved from Olympia, WA, where she was working with riparian habitat restoration, endangered salmon, and waterbirds. Originally from Ohio, Amy has been working with land management and wildlife across the U.S. since she graduated with a B.S. in Biology at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC.  She eventually came to the conclusion that the availability of and health of habitats were key to both human and wildlife, and she is proud to be able to conserve and manage part of Forest Park's natural areas. With over five years of experience in the environmental field, she is happy to continue learning and educating as a member of the FPF.  

Amy Witt

Zone 4 — Nature Reserve (Kennedy Forest, Kennedy Savanna, and Wildlife Island)

Amy joined FPF in October of 2012. She moved from Olympia, WA, where she was working with riparian habitat restoration, endangered salmon, and waterbirds. Originally from Ohio, Amy has been working with land management and wildlife across the U.S. since she graduated with a B.S. in Biology at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC.  She eventually came to the conclusion that the availability of and health of habitats were key to both human and wildlife, and she is proud to be able to conserve and manage part of Forest Park's natural areas. With over five years of experience in the environmental field, she is happy to continue learning and educating as a member of the FPF.  

Josh Wibbenmeyer Zone 4 — Nature Reserve (Deer Lake Area, Successional Forest, and the prairie complex near Steinberg Rink) Josh joined FPF in October of 2012, coming from Glen Carbon, IL, where he worked as a Regional Ecologist for Applied Ecological Services. He was hired by AES to re-evaluate the ecological conditions of all state designated natural areas throughout southern Illinois, and to collect updated vegetation data and community type boundaries. Josh has over three years of experience conducting ecological assessments and vegetation monitoring projects with The Nature Conservancy and the Missouri Department of Conservation. Josh received his M.S. and B.S. in Biology from Southeast Missouri State University, where he conducted a floristic survey of sand prairie remnants in Scott County, and identified and mapped several populations of Species of Conservation Concern.

Josh Wibbenmeyer

Zone 4 — Nature Reserve (Deer Lake Area, Successional Forest, and the prairie complex near Steinberg Rink)

Josh joined FPF in October of 2012, coming from Glen Carbon, IL, where he worked as a Regional Ecologist for Applied Ecological Services. He was hired by AES to re-evaluate the ecological conditions of all state designated natural areas throughout southern Illinois, and to collect updated vegetation data and community type boundaries. Josh has over three years of experience conducting ecological assessments and vegetation monitoring projects with The Nature Conservancy and the Missouri Department of Conservation. Josh received his M.S. and B.S. in Biology from Southeast Missouri State University, where he conducted a floristic survey of sand prairie remnants in Scott County, and identified and mapped several populations of Species of Conservation Concern.


Horticulturists, Gardeners & Administration

Anthony Boudreau
Gardener

Tony brings a great passion of working with plants and educating the public on the culture, care and therapy plants can offer. He is a regular volunteer with many of the Missouri master naturalist projects in the area. Previously, he was the Horticulture Instructor for Gateway Greening and their “City Seeds” program. Tony was exposed to our work through this program when he brought their students out to volunteer in the park. He also interned with the Boone County Conservation District in Northern Illinois as a Habitat Restoration Technician, where he organized controlled burns, seed collecting and forest/prairie rehabilitation programs.

Gretchen Garcia
Gardener

Gretchen is the Park’s Entrance Zone gardener. She comes to Forest Park Forever with over 10 years experience working with plants – ranging from ecological fieldwork and plant identification to indoor and outdoor plant care and maintenance. She received a Bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and has a strong interest in botany, nature and sustainable agriculture. After graduation she worked for several seasons as a forestry technician in both New Mexico and Alaska before starting an urban farm in Albuquerque in 2012. She has also gained valuable knowledge of ornamental plants through working at garden centers and nurseries as well as taking several horticulture classes at St Louis Community College. She moved to St. Louis in 2015 and happily joined the Land Management Team at Forest Park Forever in the spring of 2016. 

Patrick Greenwald
Horticulturist

Patrick joined FPF in fall 2014 as  FPF's Horticulturist for Zone 2 (Grand Basin and Boat House Zone). He has a passion for working in public horticulture, with experience including serving as Regional Horticultural specialist for University of Missouri Extension Office, where he supervised volunteers, wrote a weekly horticulture column and was as an instructor of horticulture, fielding questions and providing answers for the community. Patrick has also worked in greenhouse and nursery and production management, working in positions of both field work and management of inventory, orders, and delivery. 

 

Mark Halpin
Horticulturist

Mark joined Forest Park Forever in 2010 and is currently responsible for maintaining 123 acres on the east end of the Park including Steinberg Skating Rink, Round Lake, Murphy Lake, Jefferson Lake and the Jewish Memorial. He formerly maintained Forest Park's entrance medians and nearby landscapes, as well as the median and roundabout behind the World's Fair Pavilion and the Hampton Pedestrian Underpass before transitioning to his current zone. Mark's prior experience includes retail garden center work, nursery production and private landscaping. Mark holds an Associate's Degree in Horticulture from S. Louis Community College at Meramec and is an ISA Certified Arborist and NAI Certified Interpretive Guide.

Eric Hazley
Gardener

Eric works with the horticulturist in Zone 2 on a daily basis. He helps maintain all of the plantings and hardscapes, and performs various other tasks that are involved with caring for 60 acres of Forest Park. Eric comes to us with years of experience maintaining the grounds of several corporate campuses and apartment complexes.

Emily Jarvis
Land Management Administrative Assistant

Emily is a graduate of the University of Missouri – Kansas City where she earned a Bachelors degree in Finance in 2014. She joined the FPF team in the fall of 2015 after gaining hands-on office administration experience managing a local business that produces fresh salsa and pickles in the St. Louis area. Emily is a native St. Louisan who grew up in South St. Louis City and has spent countless hours enjoying Forest Park. Emily’s desire to work for a local nonprofit coupled with her love of the outdoors led her to her current position with Forest Park Forever. In addition to her job here, Emily is also a regular volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House Charity. 

 

Christopher Kelly
Horticulture Apprentice 

Chris is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University with a Teaching Certificate, B.A. in Social Sciences, specializing in History. Prior to being hired full-time by Forest Park Forever, he interned with FPF in the Nature Reserve Zone beginning in March of 2011 and spent three years serving with AmeriCorps St Louisí Emergency Response Team. During his time with ACSTL, he was involved in a significant amount of disaster relief work, but spent even more time in the woods working on conservation projects. These included timber stand movement, trail repair and building, wildfire suppression and controlled burning. 

Jaimie Liebman
Horticulturist

Since May 2014, Jaimie has worked in Zone 1 — the Welcome Zone — of Forest Park. She graduated from Missouri State University with a B.S. in Horticulture. Previously, she spent two-plus years at Missouri Wildflower Nursery and one year as green house manager for Missouri State Agriculture department.

Cassi Lundeen
Nature Works Field Coordinator 

Cassi initially joined Forest Park Forever in 2012 as a Nature Reserve Intern, had a short stint as the FPF receptionist, then in early 2014 transitioned into her current role as Nature Works Field Coordinator. She graduated from Western Illinois University with a B.S. in Recreation, Parks & Tourism Administration with minors in Communications and Outdoor Leadership. She has completed the Environmental Conservation Outdoor Education Expedition, a semester-long traveling field studies program that supports professional preparation in outdoor leadership through experiential education. Cassi has completed two service terms with AmeriCorps, serving with both the Wyoming Conservation Corps and the St. Louis Emergency Response Team. Both programs were conservation focused, working with state and federal land management agencies.

 

Mike Renner
Gardener

Mike Renner first joined the Forest Park Forever team in 2015 as a Land Management intern. In his current full-time role, he is eager to use his knowledge and experience to contribute to the maintenance of the Forest Park landscape. Prior to his time at Forest Park Forever, Mike worked for over 10 years managing the grounds of private residences. In this independent role, Mike received great encouragement to pursue his love of horticulture. Mike is currently enrolled in the Horticulture program at St. Louis Community College at Meramec where he will earn his Associates degree in the winter of 2017.

Theo Smith
Nature Reserve Technician 

Theo joined FPF in April of 2013 as a Nature Reserve Intern and became a full-time staff member in March 2014. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Affairs from Saint Louis University in 2009. Prior to FPF, Theo served two years as an AmeriCorps member working within the Missouri Clean Water AmeriCorps program, with the River des Peres Watershed Coalition, directing their rain barrel program, leading riparian and forest habitat restoration events and conducting water quality monitoring sessions. As the Nature Reserve Technician, Theo works with Nature Reserve Stewards Amy and Josh in managing and maintaining Forest Park’s natural areas, such as Kennedy and Successional Forests, Audubon and Kennedy Savannas and Steinberg Prairie.

 

Susan Van de Riet
Gardener

Susan joined FPF in May 2014 as a Horticulture Intern and became a full-time staff member in December 2014. She assists in maintaining Zone 6 on the eastern side of Forest Park. Susan obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from Saint Louis University in 2009 and began post-graduate work in January of 2014 to pursue an Associate’s in Horticulture. She has a passion for native plants and has been landscaping with them since 2009. Susan is serving on the board of the Landscape and Nursery Association of Greater St. Louis, as the Education Subcommittee Chair of GrowNative! and has participated with the St. Louis Audubon Society’s “Bring Conservation Home” program as a Habitat Advisor. A St. Louis native, she has a deep appreciation for the City of St. Louis and all it has to offer its residents and visitors, including one of her own favorites, Forest Park.

Jim Wagner
Horticulturist

Jim joined Forest Park Forever in September 2014 as Horticulturist for Zone 3 (Art Hill and Park in Motion Zone). Jim is an ISA certified arborist who came to FPF from the Missouri Botanical Garden. Prior to that role, he was a grounds supervisor for a college campus. He brings great experience managing public gardens and providing educational instruction for volunteers and the community.  

 

Maintenance Zone Map

Our Land Management team works in a zone system in order to care for the Park most efficiently and thoroughly. Here's a look at the individual zones: