Meet the Staff

  • Martin Quigley

    Martin Quigley — Executive Director

    Phone: (831)502-2314

    Martin Quigley, appointed as ED in May, 2016, has been employed as a nursery laborer, horticulturist, landscape architect, land planner, environmental consultant, field ecologist and researcher, and professor of botany. He has worked in New York, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Louisiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Florida, as well as in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Guyana, Brazil, Uruguay, Turkey and Lebanon.

    Quigley attended Deep Springs College, and earned his B.A. in Comparative Literature at Cornell University, M.L.A. in Landscape Architecture at Utah State University, and Ph.D. in Plant Ecology at Louisiana State University.

  • Brett Hall  —  California Native Plant Program Director

    Brett Hall — California Native Plant Program Director


    I was born and raised along the Central California coast, mostly in the Monterey Bay region. In the early 70s, I worked at my family's landscaping and garden design business. I was an undergrad at UCSC and worked at the Arboretum, graduating with a BA in Natural History and Biology. I started on the staff in October 1975 and became garden manager in 1976. My duties have evolved over the past 30 years into my current position. I oversee the horticultural staff and my role with that is increasingly as an advisor/coach, as well as working to get them the resources they need to succeed. I am continuing to play an active role in the development of many of our collections and have traveled overseas and throughout the West to accomplish this. I have been very fortunate to spend 30 years working in the Graden developing collections, planting gardens, and working with our wonderful group of staff, students and volunteers. My special interests include many of our collections but I plan on focusing considerable effort in the development of our native plant program and the California Province Gardens. I enjoy working with dedicated volunteers who have a genuine interest in botany and horticulture. [Brett is now President of the California Native Plant Society.]

  • Katie Cordes — Volunteer Program Coordinator

    Katie Cordes — Volunteer Program Coordinator

    Phone (831) 502-2300

    Katie began work at the Arboretum in 2008, as an Administrative Assistant. In 2011, she transferred to campus administration working in the Chancellor’s Office and in 2014, was thrilled to return to the Arboretum with a deeper appreciation for the beauty and importance of the Arboretum’s unique collections and role in education and plant conservation. 

    Katie oversees volunteer recruitment, orientation and training, event coordination, communications, and the overall building and strengthening of the volunteer program. She enjoys working with dedicated volunteers throughout the gardens, in the Lane Horticultural Library, for special events, and at Norrie’s Gift Shop. She is Staff Liaison to the Arboretum’s Education and Outreach Committee. In addition, Katie assists with day-to-day office tasks and event planning and logistics.  

    Katie’s love of plants began as a child in the vegetable garden and continued to grow as she did, leading her to obtain a B.A. in Biology from UC Santa Cruz in 1997. She loves the diverse Californian landscapes and is especially drawn to trees and forest life. She is a certified California Naturalist and participated with her daughters in the Riekes Nature Awareness Program. When not at the Arboretum, Katie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, hiking, gardening, reading, learning, listening to music and being outdoors. 

  • Sarah Jordan — Media and Events Specialist

    Sarah Jordan — Media and Events Specialist


    Sarah joined the Arboretum in March 2020 as a communications specialist with a background in writing and graphic design. She is a UC Santa Cruz alumni, with a B.A. in Environmental Policy and Planning and a minor in Journalism. Sarah is active as a volunteer trail builder and mentor for women and girls on bicycles, and has promoted cycling events as fundraisers for local State Parks. She tends to a modest garden at home, and especially loves dahlias for their variety of brightly colored blooms. She is very happy to be a part of the UC Santa Cruz community and welcomes suggestions for topics to cover in the Arboretum's newsletters, social media, and website.

  • Curatorial Staff

  • Melinda Kralj —  Curator of Collections

    Melinda Kralj — Curator of Collections


    I graduated from UCSC in 1978 with degrees in Biology & Art. I worked at San Lorenzo Garden Center for over a decade. While working at the nursery, I began volunteering at the Arboretum, and was hired in 1989. I take care of the Australian Collections. Most of my time is devoted to the Slosson Gardens and the Banksia Field. Our most-recent addition is the exciting and challenging Australian Rock Garden. In the future, I would like to devote more time and energy to give the Eucalyptus Grove the attention it deserves. Every Thursday morning, a dedicated, hard-working group of volunteers called the "Aussie Weeders" contribute their hard work and creativity to making the Australian garden more beautiful.
  • Rick Flores — Curator of California Natives Collection

    Rick Flores — Director of Horticulture


    Rick Flores is a Horticulturist and Steward of the Amah Mutsun Relearning Program (AMRP).  His professional experience at the Arboretum is with California native plants, but currently works in other gardens as well, helping to maintain displays of extraordinary plants.  As Steward of the AMRP, Rick fosters the relationship between the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and the Arboretum, oversees educational programming, and helps develop displays of culturally important native plants.  In addition, Rick assists with fundraising and grant writing.

    When not at the Arboretum, Rick enjoys hiking, backpacking, fishing, mountain biking, bird watching, and just generally being outdoors, in addition to spending time with family and friends.

    Rick has worked at the Arboretum for over 20 years and holds both a B.A. and M.A. in Environmental Studies from UCSC.

  • Linda McNally — Nursery Manager

    Linda McNally — Nursery Manager


    For the past four years, Linda has managed the succulent propagation, worked on the revitalization of the front entrance and enlarged the Succulent garden. In her new role as the Nursery Manager and Propagator, she works closely with the executive director, gardens curators, student workers and volunteers to propagate for the garden's expansive collection and the sale of plants. She is excited to be working on the new expansion and renovation of the nursery area.
    Linda is well known for her contagious laugh, can-do attitude and organizational skills honed from years of experience operating her own consulting business for homes and gardens. She holds several certificates, including Master Gardener and is an active member of the Monterey Bay Area and San Jose Cactus and Succulent Societies. Linda loves being out in nature, experiencing new adventures, spending time with friends and family and caring for her home and garden.
  • Samantha Spurlin

    Samantha Spurlin-- Plant Inventory Specialist


    I grew up on the Central Coast of California with an affinity for the outdoors. I transferred from Cuesta College to UCSC in 2012 and graduated in 2015 with a degree in Environmental Studies and Biology. I began at the Arboretum in winter 2013 as an undergraduate working primarily with Brett Hall and Rick Flores in the California gardens. I was hired part-time as Plant Inventory Specialist in March 2016 and elevated to full-time staff in January 2018. In this position I assist with inventorying and maintaining data on our diverse collections working directly with the Curators, produce signage and interpretation, and assist the California Native Plant Director, Brett Hall. I’m excited to have started a Plant Inventory Internship and Volunteer opportunity in spring 2018 and look forward to sharing the wonders of the Arboretum with the world.


  • Consultant

  • Martin Grantham

    Martin Grantham

    From San Francisco State, with many years at the UC Berkeley Botanic Garden, Martin has extensive training in botany that has informed his practice of experimental and ornamental horticulture. 

    He is a total plant nerd with a fondness for hard-to-propagate fern spores and the flora of South Africa.