Meet the Staff

2024 Arboretum Staff Directory (alphabetical):

Christine Altermann, Curator of Collections and Propagator  -

Andrea Cohen, Co-Acting Executive Director  -

Katie Cordes, Administrative Manager  -

Lucy Ferneyhough, Native Plant Program Project Manager  -

Rick Flores, Associate Director  -

Brett Hall, California Native Plant Program Director  -

Alex Hubner, Native Plant Program Horticulturist & Garden Steward  -

Herbie Lee, Co-Acting Executive Director  -

Linda McNally, Nursery Manager and Propagator  -

Joan Norvelle, Volunteer Coordinator and Administrative Assistant  -

Jose Rodriguez, Gondwanan Horticulturist & Garden Steward  -

Jeremy Silberman, Native Plant Program Student Coordinator  -


Learn more about Arboretum Staff


  • Christine Altermann — Curator of Collections and Propagator

    Christine Altermann — Curator of Collections and Propagator


    Christine Altermann grew up in California and spent her childhood gardening with her mom and visiting her grandparents in Chile. She has fond memories of spending time in her grandmother’s English-style garden and her extensive fruit garden in Valdivia, Chile. She traveled around with her family exploring the lush and picturesque areas surrounding Valdivia. She has lived in Santa Cruz for about thirty years and was first introduced to the Arboretum when visiting her sister, an Environmental Studies major at UC Santa Cruz and a student-worker at the gardens. After starting out in zoology, she discovered botany and decided to merge her love of design and plants by studying landscape architecture at UC Berkeley. She began working at Berkeley Horticultural Nursery which was an excellent training ground to learn a wide variety of plants, to be introduced to some of the most consequential plant people in the Bay Area, and to learn propagation. After moving on to work as propagator at Soquel Nursery Growers and Monterey Bay Nursery she began volunteering for her friend and mentor, Arboretum Nursery Manager Martin Grantham in 2018. She had always been interested in Mediterranean-climate plants, but working at Monterey Bay Nursery and the Arboretum, she vastly expanded her knowledge of plants from Australia, South Africa, California and New Zealand. When beloved, long time curator, Melinda Kralj, retired in June of 2021, Christine was promoted to Curator of Collections. She is honored with this privilege and looks forward to working with the fantastic team at the Arboretum as well as students, volunteers, visiting scholars, scientists, horticulturists, designers, foreign visitors, and plant enthusiasts. 

  • Katie Cordes — Administrative Manager

    Katie Cordes — Administrative Manager


    As the Arboretum's Administrative Manager, Katie oversees general Arboretum administration and core programs including the Arboretum's Membership and Volunteer Programs, Facility Rentals and Norrie's Gift & Garden Shop. She also manages Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable and together with the Executive and Associate Directors, she helps manage the annual budget.

    Katie also works closely with other staff in supporting donor relations and the visitor experience, event planning and marketing, updating the website and general Arboretum communications. 

    Katie has a BA in Biology from UCSC, is a certified California Naturalist and started work at the Arboretum in 2008. 

  • Lucy Ferneyhough - Native Plant Program Project Manager

    Lucy Ferneyhough - Native Plant Program Project Manager


    Lucy grew up exploring the mountains and lakes around Truckee with her cross country ski team. She has lived in Santa Cruz since 2008 where she completed her degree from the UCSC environmental studies department and started a small gardening business focused on locally native and regionally appropriate plants. Lucy has done ecological garden design, perennial landscape management, and cared for orchards and vegetable gardens. After completing the UC Naturalist Program she went on to work with Brett Hall on vegetation mapping, seed collection and propagation, rare species monitoring and post fire vegetation response surveys. She has served the California Native Plant Society as a board member since 2019 and as vice president of the local chapter since 2018. In her role as Native Plant Program Project Manager, her work currently focuses on plant conservation and seed banking, vegetation ecology and mapping, and native plant horticulture. When she’s not obsessing over plants, Lucy spends her time drawing, painting, weaving, knitting, cooking, baking, reading and hanging out with family. 

  • Rick Flores — Arboretum Associate Director

    Rick Flores — Associate Director


    Rick Flores is the Associate Director and Steward of the Amah Mutsun Relearning Program (AMRP). As Associate Director, Rick helps direct and develop gardens, programs, facilities, and interpretive materials, conducts strategic planning, cultivates donors, assists with fundraising and grant writing, provides educational opportunities for UCSC students and the public, and partners with faculty on grants that support the mission and vision of the Arboretum. 

    As Steward of the AMRP, he fosters the relationship between the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and the Arboretum and oversees educational programming.  He has worked at the Arboretum for over 25 years and hold both a BA and MA in Environmental Studies from UCSC.

  • 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.

  • Alex Hubner - Native Plant Program Horticulturist & Garden Steward

    Alex Hubner - Native Plant Program Horticulturist & Garden Steward


    Bio coming soon!


  • Linda McNally — Nursery Manager & Propagator

    Linda McNally — Nursery Manager & Propagator


    For many years, Linda has managed the succulent propagation, worked on the revitalization of the front entrance and enlarged the Succulent garden. As the Nursery Manager and Propagator since 2019, 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. 
    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.
  • Joan Norvelle

    Joan Norvelle - Volunteer Coordinator & Administrative Assistant

    Joan Norvelle is the Arboretum's Volunteer Coordinator and Administrative Assistant and began full time work at the Arboretum in late Fall, 2023, but her involvement with the Arboretum spans more than two decades. Over this time she supported the Arboretum as a volunteer and board member and then more recently as an Independent Contractor, she worked closely with staff to design, produce and install the Interpretive signs and Visitor Maps found throughout the gardens. 

    In her most recent role, Joan oversees our popular volunteer program with development, recruiting, onboarding, recognition, training and support. She also supports Norrie's Gift & Garden Shop, Facility Rentals, general reception, special events, social media and general Arboretum communications. 

    Photo of Joan coming soon!

  • Jose Rodriguez - Gondwanan Horticulturist & Garden Steward

    Jose Rodriguez - Gondwanan Horticulturist & Garden Steward


    As the Arboretum's first ever Gondwanan Horticulturist & Garden Steward, Jose oversees a host of horticultural responsibilities in the Arboretum's extensive core collections including tree and shrub prunning, weeding, mowing and planting. He also hires, trains and coordinates the daily work of the Arboretum's Gondwanan garden student workers.

    Additionally and together with other horticultural staff, Jose organizes, does smaller repairs and assists in replacing, the Arboretum's work vehicles, equipment and small tools. Working with Christine, Jose also produces and installs many of the garden's plant labels and other outdoor signage. 

  • Jeremy Silberman - Native Plant Program Student Coordinator

    Jeremy Silberman - Native Plant Program Student Coordinator

    Photo & bio coming soon!

    Short quote from Jeremy: "I interned, worked, and enjoyed the UCSC Arboretum all throughout my four years in college, and I am now grateful to work here with the Native Plant Program as a student coordinator. In my experience, the Arboretum passionately and tirelessly sustains itself and its community while always prioritizing the development, learning, and curiosity of the students who work and intern with us." 



  • 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.