Speakers Bureau

We can enhance your next group gathering held at Holden Arboretum or Cleveland Botanical Garden through a variety of informative one-hour programs. Please contact Program Registrations at 440.602.3833 for more information or download a request form. We will also try our best to customize a program to your needs.

Gary Esmonde, Librarian

Esmonde earned his undergraduate degree at Ohio State University and his master’s in Library Science at Kent State University. He has been with the Cleveland Botanical Garden since 2006.

History of Cleveland Botanical Garden 

Go down memory lane with boathouses, books, and the famous White Elephant sale.  Esmonde will highlight through archival photographs the Garden’s illustrious past since 1916.

Johnny Appleseed 

 John Chapman, also known as “Johnny Appleseed” was responsible for planting thousands of apple trees in early rural Ohio.  This presentation explores the life and myths of this favorite pioneer nurseryman, missionary, and eccentric folk legend.

Deyampert Giles, Horticulturist

Giles maintains the interior plant collections of the Cleveland Botanical Garden as well as the Mary Ann Sears-Swetland Rose Garden, the Paula and David Swetland Topiary Garden and White Oak Walk garden path. He is a graduate of Cuyahoga Community College with a degree in plant science.  

From Garden to Bottle

Explore the vast array of plants used in the perfume industry (with a particular emphasis on what is locally available). Participants will also learn techniques to help sharpen their sense of smell along with a basic vocabulary of fragrance.

Rose Care 101

Learn the historical significance of rose culture, how to select roses for today’s gardens and the basics of rose care with an emphasis on Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Lori Gogolin, Horticulturist

Gogolin earned an associate’s degree in horticulture from Kent State University.  She is a horticulturist at the Holden Arboretum and is responsible for the Arlene and Arthur S. Holden Jr. Butterfly Garden.

Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden

Tour the Arlene and Arthur S. Holden Jr. Butterfly Garden to learn all about the best plants, cultural methods and design principals to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees to your garden.  This program is only offered at the Holden Arboretum during the months of June through September and takes place entirely in the garden.

Sharon Graper, Director of Academics

Graper has a master’s degree in science education from the University of Delaware and received her undergraduate degree in environmental science from the University of Virginia.

How to Nurture a Child’s Sense of Wonder

This presentation complete with hands-on activities is designed for adults who want to be a companion in their child’s exploration of the natural world. Techniques and activities that encourage children to discover the world around them will be presented. The focus will be on why it is more important to appreciate what is seen rather than knowing its scientific name.

Ann Budziak Rzepka, Horticulturist

Rzepka maintains the Myrtle S. Holden Wildflower Garden at the Holden Arboretum, assists conservation staff with the heritage species monitoring program and helps maintain Holden’s commitment to the Center for Plant Conservation and the preservation of rare and endangered plant species. She earned a bachelor’s in environmental studies from Hiram College.  

Rain Gardens – Working Hard While Looking Good

Rain gardens do double duty in our landscapes. They clean and infiltrate stormwater and can become an oasis for wildlife and beauty. This program discusses the benefits of rain gardens and how to properly site, select plants for, and install a rain garden on a residential lot.

Gardening with Native Plants

If you are thinking about starting or expanding a native plant garden, this presentation is for you. Discover what goes into the planning and maintenance of the Myrtle S. Holden Wildflower garden at the Holden Arboretum. Recommended native plants and cultivars for the home garden and how to combine and care for them will also be covered. Plants selections are based on ornamental value, size, and cultural conditions.

Michael Watson, Conservation Biologist

Watson works on conservation issues involving wildlife.  He also coordinates Holden Arboretum’s Bluebird Project, a volunteer-based program monitoring the nesting activity of bluebirds and other species using Holden’s 200+ nest boxes. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan.

Return of the Eastern Bluebird

Discover the basics of bluebird ecology and conservation as well as the Arboretum’s role in and process for the successful recovery of this species in Ohio.  Tips for the homeowner on providing safe and attractive nesting options will also be shared.

Ohio’s Forests

This interesting presentation reveals how geology, glacial activity, human history, and ecological interactions shape Ohio’s forests.  Past and present forest types across Ohio, as well as the Arboretum’s current dominant forest types and the plants and animals associated with these forests, will be highlighted.