You can also download a complete list and description of all sessions and speakers.
Dr. David Zlesak
Dr. David Zlesak is a Professor of Horticulture at the U of WisconsinRiver Falls. He has been breeding roses and other plants for
adaptations to the upper Midwest since 1984. He has cultivars of
roses, ninebark, heliopsis, and ageratum on the market. David works
with the American Rose Trials for Sustainability and Earth-Kind Rose
Trial programs, characterizing new rose viruses and resistance genes
to rose black spot.
Joe Barten holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design and Urban
Planning from the University of Minnesota. Professionally, Joe has
helped hundreds of homeowners design and install raingardens, native
gardens, and native shoreline restorations on their property. As
Resource Conservationist for the Dakota County SWCD, he provides
planning, design, and project management of urban stormwater
Dave Olson grew up on a farm in Kandiyohi County and also
enjoyed a family vegetable garden. His Swedish grandfather had a
5-acre garden! He started growing tomatoes seriously 40 years
ago and has become our Master Gardener tomato-growing leader
for the annual plant sale. Dave became a Master Gardener in
Cheryl Forrest grew up on a farm in Waseca County and worked in
her mother’s vegetable garden. She has gardened all her life, and
she became a Master Gardener in 2004. For the Master Gardener
annual plant sale, she has started and helped care for over 50
varieties and 1,500 plants. At home, she grows 30 tomatoes
annually and juices, cans, dries and shares them with friends.
Dean Engelmann grew up on a typical small family farm near Plato,
MN. He went on to study Plant Science, Horticulture, and Landscape
Design at the University of Minnesota. After several years in the
wholesale production side of the horticulture industry, he ventured
off to start Tangletown Gardens and eventually his restaurant Wise
Acre Eatery. Now the farm he grew up on supplies the garden
center, the restaurant, and their 900 member CSA. Dean is
passionate, energetic, and loves what he does. That will be quite
apparent during his presentation.
Faith Appelquist is the owner of Tree Quality in St Paul, Minnesota. She
specializes in tree evaluation and management, appraisals, risk
assessment and landscape design. She earned a Food Science degree
from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Landscape Design
degree from Dakota County Technical College.
She is an International Society of Arboriculture Board Certified Master
Arborist, an American Society of Consulting Arborists Registered
Consulting Arborist, and a Qualified Tree Risk Assessor. She volunteers
on the Minnesota and Nursery Landscape Association Board of Directors
Sue Evarts grew up in the pine and aspen forests of northern
Minnesota. She got her PhD in Behavior Ecology from the University
of Minnesota and taught biology at the University of St. Thomas.
After teaching, she worked in the Horticultural Department at the
Minnesota Zoo. She is a Dakota County Master Gardener and
University of Minnesota Tree Care Advisor.
Linda Wenzel has been a life-long gardener who loves all kinds of
plants. Currently her gardening involves perennial flowers and
vegetables, and she has been a Master Gardener since 2014.
Professionally she was a geriatric nurse practitioner and noted how
little access many elders had to the outside natural environment.
She developed a passion for learning about the healing nature of
gardens and plants.
Cathy Johnson has been a Master Gardener since 2014. She has
worked with healing gardens in the past and is currently planning a
new one in Farmington. She has also led presentations on the topic.
Don Feeney’s first garden was on the rooftop of a Boston apartment
building in 1980. In a flash of insight, he realized that the reason he
had no fruit on his cucumber, pepper, and other plants might have had
something to do with the lack of pollinators on the 12th floor. He’s
been more successful since, with a focus on vegetables at his West St.
Paul home. A Dakota County Master Gardener for the last two years,
Don is also a volunteer teacher-naturalist at Dodge Nature Center,
where he has organized an extensive demonstration vegetable garden
to help children learn where their food comes from. His 2019 home
garden included over 50 containers.