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 Master Gardener Peg Burman

Stay tuned for a bio from Peg!


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.

Director at large Sue Newman

Sue is an Advanced Master Gardener. She completed her Master Gardener certification requirements in 2001. From 2001-2014 she maintained the garden beds at the public library in Fenton, Michigan. She also participated in Career Day at Mason Middle School for several years, discussing plants’ growing needs, smart garden design, and landscaping and horticulture related careers with 7th and 8th graders.

Becoming a Board Member for MGANM has been a great way for Sue to make connections with the local Master Gardener community. Her current gardening interests are learning to grow and harvest food throughout the year, and landscaping with native plants to support the native animal, bird and insect populations.

Sue worked for General Motors for 25 years, mostly in strategic planning, process improvement and business application support. She and her husband Gary had always enjoyed vacationing in northwestern Michigan, and decided to move to Traverse City permanently in spring 2015. Her first job in the area was the Gardener at the Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor.  She worked at the Homestead for the 2015 and 2016 summer seasons, then took a full-time position in Enrollment Services at Northwestern Michigan College in the fall of 2016.

Additional Board Positions 

Newsletter Chairperson & Editor: Advanced Master Gardener Cheryl Gross 

Website administrator: Advanced Master Gardener Whitney Miller


2018 Advisory Positions

Botanical Gardens at Historic Barns Park Liaison: Terry Harding

Boardman River Nature Center Liaison: Open

Technology ChairpersonAdvanced Master Gardener Whitney Miller

Program Chairperson: Open

Membership Chairperson: Open


Past Presidents

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

Deb Burge

Sally Weaver: 1996 (Inaugural President) 

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