Becky Rice was hired as executive director in December 2007. She has an undergraduate degree in Business Finance and graduate work toward an MBA from the Carlson School of Management. She has a background in fund development and finance, with more than twenty five years in nonprofit management. Becky built her first raingarden after a neighbor shared the information he’d received at a Metro Blooms raingarden workshop. Awards: 2010 MCWD Watershed Heroes Award for Citizen Engagement and 2011 Environmental Initiative Award for Environmental Education.
Laura joined Metro Blooms in 2012 as their MN GreenCorps member. After her year of GreenCorps service, she began her role as a staff member in August 2013. She has a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota, as well as a minor in Spanish Studies. Working at Metro Blooms has allowed her to combine her passions for community engagement and field work and facilitates her daily education in water quality, nonprofit management, and equitable engagement. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, spending time at the lake and camping with her husband and two sons.
John graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. with majors in International and Environmental Studies and Philosophy. He worked as an educator in the Mid-Atlantic region for a few years—savoring every opportunity to help students draw connections between themselves and a greater world—before joining Metro Blooms as a Minnesota GreenCorps member in 2015. John enjoys reading, cooking, fixing things, every sort of people-powered movement, and the way atmosphere and stellar bodies play together to paint the sky. He is a certified Minnesota Water Steward.
Rich Harrison is a Registered Landscape Architect with a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Minnesota. His work focuses on sustainable design, place making, and community development. Rich has worked on water quality issues for 21 years, including research at Mankato State University, working for the Met Council studying non-point source pollution, and research at University of MN focusing on transit-oriented development and organic Infrastructure. For Rich, on-site treatment of stormwater is the best way to prevent pollution and preserve our precious water resources, and he has focused his career on design. Rich believes that education and facilitating the understanding of how our actions impact our natural environment is critical to successful design.
Jennifer has a Bachelor’s Degree in Plant Science + Sustainable Agriculture from Cornell University and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from North Carolina State University. She has worked on merging ecological and aesthetic principles in site design for 14 years, including commercial and public projects at CLH Design in Raleigh, NC, as well as stormwater-focused residential and commercial design in North Carolina and Minnesota. Her work at Metro Blooms combines her passions for plants and planting design with engaging and educating people about creating resilient and beautiful landscapes. When she is not working in her garden, she can be found trail running, camping and paddling with her husband and two sons.
Mike graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with Bachelor’s degrees in Botany and Conservation. He spent several years with the US Forest service in California conducting botanical surveys near Yosemite NP, before moving to the Twin Cities and starting a small landscaping company. Mike joined Metro Blooms in 2017 and is also currently working on a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota. He can usually be found in the garden with his chickens during free time.
Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Minnesota twice over, with a Bachelor of Environmental Design and Planning in 2008, and more recently, a Master of Landscape Architecture in 2018. Joining the Metro Blooms team since then has happily provided a place for her passions in creative stormwater and landscape management, as well as community health, education and all things green. Never one for sitting still long, Jennifer has been volunteering as a Certified Master Gardener since 2011, and is involved in multiple hobbies such as biking, gardening, and camping during summer months, or moonlighting as a freelance muralist during winter evenings.
Nikolai Fjelstad De Santiago
Chris graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Master of Landscape Architecture, class of 2021. He also has a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Nairobi, Kenya. Before relocating to the United States, he ran a landscape design-build company in Kenya. Chris is interested in green infrastructure and how it can be a critical component in climate change adaptation and resilience.
James graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology, and minors in Biology and Wildlife Conservation. James then went to the University of Minnesota for his Master’s degree in Entomology, where he focused on describing the bee communities that forage on flowering bee lawns in Minneapolis. James joined Metro Blooms in 2019 to work on installing boulevard bioswales and turf alternatives to ensure water quality and provide forage for pollinators, and educate the public about the benefits of these plantings. James enjoys playing and watching sports in his free time.
Deborah has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and has completed post-grad work with licenses in Special Education and Family Education. She joined the Metro Blooms team in 2008. She has 30+ years of experience as an educator in public and private settings and formerly worked full time for the St. Paul Public Schools as a Special Ed teacher. Her background serves her well in collaborating with team members and responding to staff and client needs. She was inspired by Metro Blooms to install a raingarden on her property. She has interests in music, yoga and enjoys the outdoors.
Aleli has a Bachelor of Arts in History of Ideas from Williams College. She has experience as a freelance writer, newspaper reporter and in publishing. Working for Metro Blooms has opened her eyes to the importance of the natural spaces in our urban environment. She has a great appreciation for the way Metro Blooms engages individuals to take action in their own backyards and motivates communities to work together to improve their landscapes.
Lilah is a candidate for a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences, Policy & Management, and a minor in Native American Environmental Knowledge at University of Minnesota. She enjoys visiting with friends and family in Chicago, playing traditional lacrosse, and traveling to dance at powwows in her free time.
Fernanda completed two years towards a B.S. in Engineering at University of Minnesota before starting an apprenticeship at Metro Blooms in 2019. With the engineering degree now on hold, Fernanda’s focus is on learning the ins and outs of landscape design, installation, and maintenance. Having grown up in the heart of Mexico City, Fernanda is fluent in Spanish and seeks to engage members of Hispanic, Indigenous, and Latin American communities.
Ben is a graduate of University of Wisconsin—Stout with a Bachelor’s of Environmental Science, with a concentration in Environmental Health, in 2017. Ben has two years of experience working for the Conservation Corps maintaining water trails and clearing invasive species across Minnesota. His first introduction to Metro Blooms involved installing raingardens as a cooperative project with the Conservation Corps. Ben hopes to expand his experience in landscaping and gardening at Metro Blooms. Ben enjoys spending time with friends and family, as well as camping and listening to live music.
Leah has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Earlham College and is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration. Leah has worked for the US Forest Service, Oregon State Parks, and the West Side Community Organization. Leah is driven by community, equity, and the belief that our futures are bound together. She enjoys nerding out about public land management and ants.
Ab is a recent graduate from Hennepin Technical College with a certificate in Urban Forestry. Before that, they completed a B.A. in Interpersonal Communications at the University of Minnesota. Ab has a background working in retail greenhouses as well as for the Conservation Corps. Their passions include plant identification, going to art museums, seeing plays at local theatres, and spending time with their loved ones.
Will is in his second season working with Metro Blooms. He grew up in St. Paul and graduated from St. Paul College with an associate in arts degree. Will enjoys gardening and was familiar with raingardens, in his neighborhood, before joining Metro Blooms. He appreciates Metro Blooms’ work in sustainability and clean water. His favorite plant is butterfly milkweed.
Forest is studying plant science at the University of Minnesota. They are interested in edible landscapes and teaching children about growing food sustainably. Eventually they would like to get a masters in landscape architecture. Forest has five chickens and a dog. At Metro Blooms, they are learning a lot of on-the-job plant identification.
Darcy is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a major in plant science and a minor in astrophysics. They are originally from the suburbs of Chicago. In addition to their work at Metro Blooms, they are a planetarium education assistant at the Bell Museum, where they have held various roles including working with animals and in the planetarium.