Board Members & History
President: Advanced Master Gardener Michele Worden
Michele Worden lives in the woods in Traverse City with her husband and two children, a golden retriever and a rabbit. Her children love attending The Greenspire School where she is an active volunteer.
Michele is an Advanced Master Gardener, and has been a member of the Master Gardener Association of Northwest Michigan since she became a Master Gardener in 2002. She has a lifelong interest in Native Plants, but has focused on the design of Children’s Gardens and Youth Gardening with the birth of her twins in 2003. In 2006, she served as co-Vice-President of the MGANM with Julia Barresi; together they started the summer Master Gardener Garden Walks. In 2009, she presented at the American Horticultural Society’s Children & Youth Gardening Symposium. In 2010 she was named Master Gardener of the Year for Grand Traverse County.
Gardening highlights for Michele include volunteering as the Della Terra instructor (school garden and greenhouse) at The Children’s House, The Sunshine Kids group mentor at the Traverse Area Children’s Garden and working as a Farm to School Educator alongside FoodCorps members in area schools. She is a member of the Sakura Bonsai Society, and Herbal Renewal, an herb study group, and past member of Cherryland Garden Club.
Professionally, Michele has been focused on nonprofit management since 2006. She is the managing director of the Aline Underhill Orten Foundation (Secretary/Treasurer), a founding member of The Greenspire School (past Treasurer and Advancement Chair), and President of the Greenspire Charitable Foundation. Prior to 2003, Michele worked as a strategy management consultant for Fortune 100, high tech companies. She earned her M.B.A from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan in 1999. Prior to consulting, Michele worked as a chemical engineer in petroleum refineries and specialty chemical manufacture, wearing many organizational hats. Highlights as an engineer were building and starting up refineries/chemical plants on five continents. Michele earned her B.S. Chemical Engineering/B.S. Chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1988.
Vice President: Advanced Master Gardener Cheryl Gross
Cheryl A. Gross is an Advanced Master Gardener and the incoming Vice President on the MGANM 2016 Board. She has been the Editor/Team Leader of the Real Dirt since 2013. Cheryl was in the 2011 Master Gardener Training class. She was awarded Master Gardener of the Year for Benzie County in 2012 and 2014.
In addition to the MGANM, Cheryl has been active in Plant It Wild, a Michigan native plant club, since the fall of 2007. She is currently serving as the PIW President. With Plant It Wild, Cheryl has provided educational presentations to garden clubs and others on the importance of Michigan native plants to our environment. She sometimes speaks as her alter ego, Lily Wood. Her native plant gardens are her passion.
Cheryl Gross earned a BS in Organizational Communication from Ohio University in 1975 and a MA in Interpersonal Communication from Miami University in 1976. She has worked in occupational research for the State of Nebraska, compensation and human resources management systems in the finance and insurance industry, and as a Human Resources consultant for Arthur Young and Company and Plante & Moran. Cheryl is married to Gary Richardson and they have three children: “Frick”, “Frack”, and “Mac”; two cats: Autumn and Bon homme and a poodle, Penny. Cheryl and Gary recently relocated to Traverse City from Frankfort where they moved from Pittsburgh, PA in 2007. She is originally from Plymouth, Michigan.
Besides gardening with Michigan native plants, Cheryl is good at packing and moving and enjoys both cooking and knitting.
Treasurer: Master Gardener Glynis Waycaster
Glynis completed the Master Gardening Course offered by MSU Extension in 2013 and received her Master Gardening Certification in 2014. Taking the course from MSU Extension had been on her “bucket list” of personal goals, she wanted to learn more about horticulture and landscaping. It was through the course that she learned of MGANM and became a member in 2014. MGANM’s work within the community drew her interest to the association.
A native of Detroit, she relocated to Northern Michigan as a young adult and in 1991 to Traverse City. She is the mother of three; son (24) and twin daughters (23). Glynis is a Registered Nurse of 33 years and works at Munson Medical Center. She received her Master’s Degree in Nursing from University of Phoenix in 2009.
When not working, she spends the majority of her time doing home improvement projects and working in her yard and immature gardens.
Secretary: Master Gardener Judy Reich
Judy Reich lives in the Old Town Neighborhood in Traverse City in a 125 year old “painted lady” that has been a work in progress since moving there in 1988. She shares with the Real Dirt her background:
I graduated from Wayne State University in 1969 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. I worked in Detroit as a graphic artist briefly but decided that the Traverse Bay Area was where I wanted to be having spent many summers on Glen Lake.
In November of 1970 I settled north of Suttons Bay in an old farm house and had my first real garden. I grew flowers, vegetables and raised chickens, picked berries and cherries and peaches and plums, canned, pickled, froze and eventually ate them all (well, not the flowers). This was a whole new world for a girl who grew up in the suburbs of Detroit. Since moving to “town” I have never had quite the size garden I had in Leelanau but my goal is to eventually turn my whole back yard into garden.
There was not much in the way of commercial art to do in the area at the time so I managed the office at a resort for a year and then worked at the Child Guidance Clinic as a receptionist and art therapist in Traverse City while expecting my daughter Aaryn. I was lucky to be able to stay home with her until I started nursing school at Northwestern Michigan College. I then worked at Munson in Labor & Delivery, a General Surgery and Neuro unit, and in 1980 ended up in the Operating Room. While there, I developed the position of Education Coordinator, helped to found a regional chapter of the Association of Operating Room Nurses, developed a senior practice in the O.R. for Registered Nursing students, trained the labor and delivery nurses to scrub and circulate caesarean sections in the Obstetrics Department and wrote and produced an educational film for the AORN. In 1994, I accepted a position with Baxter Healthcare as a supply chain consultant for Procedure Based Delivery System. Over the next 18 years I traveled the country visiting procedural areas of hospitals helping them to design custom kits for their procedures.
Since retiring I have been perfecting my geriatric nursing skills taking care of my mother who is 94. She keeps me pretty busy but taking the MSUE Master Gardener course was at the top of my to-do list when I retired. I completed the class in December 2013 and have enjoyed this new community. My partner Tim McGrew and I have been members of MGANM since January 2014 and I have volunteered in the maintenance and development of the gardens at the Boardman River Nature Center. This year I was intensely involved in the installation of the Green Roof there. I also have served as a docent for the Botanic Garden at the Historic Barns Park. Much to my surprise I was awarded the honor of being chosen Grand Traverse County Master Gardener of 2015. I believe that the best way to learn about something is to be involved in it. I am happy to serve as secretary for MGANM.
Additional Board Positions
Newsletter Chairperson & Editor: Advanced Master Gardener Cheryl Gross
2016 Advisory Positions
Botanical Gardens at Historic Barns Park Liaison: Master Gardener Liz Clous
Boardman River Nature Center Liaison: Open
Technology Chairperson: Advanced Master Gardener Whitney Miller
Program Chairperson: Open
Membership Chairperson: MG Nancy Larson
Memorandum of Agreement with The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park: MOA
Memorandum of Understanding with Grand Traverse Conservation District: MOU with GTCD
In recognition of all the hard work and dedication that it takes to run a volunteer organization, we would like to recognize and honor our past MGANM Board Presidents.
Sue Sensenbaugh-Padgett, & Marina Deering Emeritus: 2015
Liz Clous: 2014
Erik Zehender: 2013
Kristine Drake: 2012
Liz Clous: 2011
Ellen Lapekas: 2010
Joe Sarafa: 2009
Marina Deering: 2008
Jill Porter: 2006
Gabby Thompson: 2005
Sally Weaver: 1996 (Inaugural President)