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. 

    With the support of an AmeriCorps V.I.P. Volunteer Coordinator, 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. 

  • Amber Burke

    Amber Burke - Development Director

    Phone (831) 502-2303

    Amber Burke enjoys connecting with plants, animals, and humans. In her free time she plans new explorations for her and her family. Currently this translates to visiting other arboretums, public gardens, wildlife refuges, and museums. Her 8 year old son keeps her busy on the weekends, chasing basketballs and riding electric scooters. Her education includes a Bachelors in Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management (2013), a grant writing certification (2016), and staying current with development trends through active memberships with Association of Fundraising Professionals, American Public Garden Association, and Society of Research Administrators. During the last 10 years, Amber has served in research development, finance management, event management and volunteer programming roles for mid to large-sized non-profits. She highly values creativity, connection, and celebration and is inspired by the Arboretum's community of passionate supporters.

  • Curatorial Staff

  • Melinda Kralj —  Curator of Collections

    Melinda Kralj — Curator of Collections

    Phone: (831) 502-2309
    Email: mkralj @ 

    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.
  • Tom Sauceda —  Curator New Zealand Collection

    Tom Sauceda — Curator New Zealand Collection

    Phone: (831) 502-2308
    Email: sauceda @ 

    I received a Bachelor of Arts in the fields of Biology, and Environmental Studies, UCSC 1985; and subsequently studied Spanish at Cabrillo College. I began to work at the Arboretum as a student in 1981. I became the Curator of the New Zealand Collection in 1987. My work involves all aspects of the New Zealand collection, which includes the Ed Landel's New Zealand Garden. This involves anything from noxious weed removal to giving tours of the garden. I am also involved with the development and maintenance of the Chilean Collection. I have traveled to New Zealand and Chile to collect plants and to gain a better understanding of native plant communities. I oversee students and volunteers that work on garden maintenance—mowing, weeding, pruning, irrigation, plantings, and nursery work—potting, propagation, and more. I am very grateful for all their hard work and always welcome more help.
  • Rick Flores — Curator of California Natives Collection

    Rick Flores — Director of Horticulture

    Phone: (831) 502-2310
    Email: rflores @

    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.


  • 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.

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