Children’s Garden Committee member bios

Members of the Magnuson Children’s Garden Committee come from many different backgrounds, professional and personal experiences! Here are their bios, listed in order of how long they have been part of the committee:

Emily Bishton: Communications Leader/Design Team and Mural Team member.  Emily grew up in a gardening family in the urban Midwest, and arrived in Seattle in 1977.   During her career in home remodeling, she began volunteering as a garden teacher at Dunlap Elem, and then took the 1996 King County Master Gardener training.  This “light bulb moment” led to a career change, horticulture school, and 23 years as a landscape designer and environmental educator.  Emily joined the Children’s Garden Committee in 2003, and served as chair from 2012-2017.  In 2005, she also founded the Magnuson Community Center Nature Programs, and served as its director and lead educator until retiring from it in the fall of 2017.  Though her main residence is now in Arizona, she still teaches sustainable gardening classes remotely for many Puget Sound entities, volunteers remotely for the Children’s Garden Committee year-round though the monthly e-newsletter and other activities, and volunteers there in person during the summer months.  She says, “The Children’s Garden will always be home for me, and I love being there with all the volunteers, kids, and families!” Emily is also a member of the Design Team and Mural Team, which are working on planning new features for the garden, and creating a new mural for the big kiosk. Here she is in the Children’s Garden P-Patch plot with a local girl scout troop.

Tina Kaempfer: Community Garden Board Representative/Mural Team member.  Tina’s childhood included many visits to Sand Point Naval Air Station, where her father was stationed from 1952 until 1962.  Decades later, walking through the Children’s Garden created a beautiful surprise when she realized that it had been built in the same area where her father’s work station had been!  It also delighted her young granddaughter, who she later enrolled in Magnuson Nature Programs’ summer camps for 8 years.   Tina began volunteering in the Children’s Garden in 2006, was a Magnuson Nature Programs docent from 2014-2017, and says, “Many friends and lovely memories have been made here”.  She retired in 2014 after 24 years in special education and ELL in the Shoreline School District, and now brings her youngest granddaughter with her to the park.  As the Children’s Garden’s representative on the Magnuson Community Garden board, she advocates on the Children’s Garden’s behalf and provides good communication between the two entities. She also takes good care of the Children’s Garden worm bin, and has recently joined the Mural Team!  Here she is with kids at a Magnuson Nature Programs summer camp.

Loie Hanson: Refreshments Leader/Children’s Garden Representative to the Master Gardener Leaders Group/Design Team member  Loie grew up in Dubuque, Iowa, in the heart of farm country.  Her dad kept a large fruit and vegetable garden, and her two aunts both had huge vegetable, fruit, and flower gardens on their farms and provided fresh arrangements for their church altar.  Loie spent many a day each summer on the farms, enjoying helping tend both of those bountiful gardens.  She moved to Seattle in 1970 to be with friends, and has been here ever since, with a long career in nursing.  Loie became a King County Master Gardener in 2008, joined the Children’s Garden Committee soon afterward, and became Refreshments Leader in 2017.   She also was a volunteer docent with Magnuson Nature Programs for two years, and says, “Now I like to share my love of gardening with my grandchildren as well as with Magnuson Children’s Garden visitors!”  Loie also represents the Children’s Garden on the Master Gardener Program’s Garden Leaders Group to advocate on its behalf and provides good communication between the two entities. And she is a member of the Design Team!  Here she is showing new volunteers the “clean green” yard waste area at a fall stewardship event.

Carol Furry: Nature Walks Co-leader/Mural Team member Retiring after 20 years as a middle school science teacher in the Seattle Public Schools, Carol was able to continue her interest in teaching children when she discovered Magnuson Nature Programs.  She was one of the first group of Nature Docents in January 2011, and volunteered for the following 7 years at camps, classes, field trips, nature walks, and more.  She is an expert on aquatic insects and other invertebrates, and made significant contributions to the nature programs curricula throughout that time.  Carol joined the Magnuson Children’s Garden Committee in 2017 to continue bringing the word about the environment to children, and has recently volunteered to co-lead the Nature Walks and join the Mural Team.  She is also a volunteer educator with Seattle Audubon and a tutor with Literacy Source, likes to read, and says, ” I like to travel, especially when the goal is bird-watching!”. Here she is with kids at a Magnuson Nature Programs winter break camp.

Kelly Angell: Design Team member  Kelly grew up on a farm in Montana, but Seattle has been home for over thirty years.  She has been a King Co. Master Gardener since 2012, and immediately started volunteering at the Magnuson Children’s Garden as an intern.  Kelly says, “I am so thankful for this wonderful place, where children of all ages can interact with and connect to nature, in so many different ways – things I took for granted as a kid, but have come to value greatly as an adult”.  Kelly also helped to plant and maintain the Magnuson Community Center Bird-friendly Landscape and Resource Conservation Landscape projects for several years.  As a member of the Master Gardener Foundation of King County board of directors from 2014-2016, she was also its liaison with the Children’s Garden Committee, and her advocacy was instrumental in securing ongoing funding of the garden.  Kelly is a member of the Design Team too! Here she is helping to weed the Grey Whale Garden.

Debi Quirk:  Debi moved to Seattle in 1980 to start graduate school, and fell in love with the Pacific NW.  She has been a registered nurse for over 40 years and currently works as a Patient Advocate.  She graduated from the King Co. Master Gardener Program in early 2015, and has been involved with the Magnuson Children’s Garden ever since.  Debi also was a volunteer docent with Magnuson Nature Programs for three years, and says, “I love seeing the kids in awe of nature: the birds, frogs, butterflies, dragonflies, beavers, and what grows in the garden, and it has been an amazing experience for me too!”  Here she is with kids at a 2017 Magnuson Nature Programs summer camp.

Tanya White: Tanya became a Magnuson Nature Programs docent in 2015, the same year she became a King Co. Master Gardener, and over the next 2 years she assisted with many camps, classes, and field trips.  She also began using her creative and artistic skills in Children’s Garden projects such as the butterfly-shaped Pollinator Garden.  In 2017, she joined the Children’s Garden Committee and began to also help teach our Family Garden Classes, complete with wonderful take-home projects for kids and families!  Here she is on the left in green sweater, after leading kids in making mosaic bricks the line the new Pollinator Garden in 2017. 

Eric Sladky: Infrastructure Leader/Design Team member. Eric graduated from the UW School of Landscape Architecture in 1984, and was an Instructor of Landscape Design at Bellevue Community College from 1985-1996, all the while running his own landscape design and construction business. He joined a Seattle Architecture firm from 1997-2010 as a landscape architect, and is currently self-employed and specializing in design and development.  In spring 2016, Eric graduated from the King Co. Master Gardener Program and “jumped in” to the Children’s Garden with both feet, volunteering to become Infrastructure Leader only a year later! His irrigation system management and plant care expertise are major elements in the garden’s good health and wise use of resources.  Eric also uses his landscape architecture skills as a Design Team member. Here he is on the left in khaki shorts, at one of our 2017 springtime stewardship events.

Sarah Heater: Social Media Leader. Sarah joined the staff of Magnuson Nature Programs in the spring of 2017, and was a tremendous asset to all its programs.  In the fall of 2017, she joined the Children’s Garden Committee and has continued making creative contributions ever since, even though she now is living in the Bay Area and in an intensive grad school program!  Here she is at the 2017 Magnuson Nature Programs’ Celebrate Urban Nature event, teaching kids about how bird bills are adapted to match their diet.

Sarah Winkowski: Treasurer/ Nature Walks Co-leader Sarah made her way to Seattle from Virginia, looking for new experiences and in pursuit of a degree in museum studies.  With a background in wildlife conservation, she feels deeply about the significance of providing others the opportunity to connect to and become curious about nature.  She says, “As a child, I spent countless hours in the woods. The leaves, the trees, the soil, and the creatures I found there were endlessly fascinating to me. As a young adult, being out in nature helped me to find a sense of calm and mindful focus.  As an undergraduate, I felt rootless until I found a program where I could continue to explore my captivation with the natural world, where entire classes were spent outdoors in the soft slopes of the Appalachian Mountains learning to listen to the birds and to read the twigs of the trees”.  Upon arriving in Seattle, she was excited to find the Children’s Garden, became a committee member in fall 2017, and immediately began volunteering at events and nature walks.  She has also been using her wonderful graphics skills and creative energies to design new signage and educational activities for the garden. In 2019, Sarah took on the role of Treasurer, completed her Masters in Museology at the UW, and began work as Visitor Services Coordinator at The Burke Museum, and in 2020 she also volunteered to be Nature Walks Co-leader!  Here she is exploring and enjoying the Olympic Peninsula rainforest.

Wanqin Su: Design Team member
Having lived in Xiamen, Shanghai, Louisiana, and the Bay Area, Su moved to Seattle in 2017 to become a landscape architect. She has since fallen in love with the beautiful environment around here. As a designer, she’s deeply fascinated with the interaction between humans and the environment we live in, especially how they influence each other over time. Her experience in Louisiana and Shanghai has made her more and more interested in environmental justice and creating public space for all.
She joined the Children’s Garden Committee in 2020 to participate in the effort to bring the Snack House, a program that’s been requested by our young visitors, into reality.  Now that it is complete, she is helping lead the Design Team in the re-design of the whole south end of the garden.  The skills she brings to the team include 3D modeling, landscape design and graphic design. Here she is enjoying a beautiful day in Gas Work Park!

Coming soon! Bios of other new members:

Shannon Poll: Food Garden Co-Leader/Design Team member

Carol Laurier: Food Garden Co-Leader/Design Team member

Bridget Sachse: Design Team member/Mural Team member

Rita Anderson: Design Team member/Mural Team member

Becky Gawin:  Photo documentation leader

Jessica Cresanti-Daknis: Design Team member

Emeritus Members:

Cindy Hazard:  Cindy is a longtime Seattle-area horticulturist and landscape designer who got involved in the creation of Magnuson Community Garden in 1999, a short time after graduating from the King Co. Master Gardener program.   She then co-founded the Children’s Garden Committee in 2001, and led the initial community design charrettes with children and parents that resulted in many of the garden’s main features, such as the Lookout hill and Rolling Lawn, Tide Pool and Bog Gardens, and a selection of a wide variety of interesting-looking and wildlife-attracting plants.  In 2004, she and Emily led additional design charrettes with children that resulted in the addition of the mosaic Salmon Survival Path and the most iconic garden feature, the Grey Whale Garden.  Cindy chaired the Children’s Garden Committee for its first 10 years, and established many of our vital community partnerships.  Happily, she has remained involved to consult with us on the garden design and infrastructure, to help guide the garden into the future!  Here she is in turquoise shirt, at the end of one of the dozens of garden stewardship events she led during the garden’s first 15 years.

Joy Naganuma: In 2012, Joy began volunteering in the Children’s Garden and as a docent with Magnuson Nature Programs, and says, “Many years ago, I became a King Co. Master Gardener because I love learning and sharing ways to grow plants with other people.  More and more, this has focused on growing edible plants with kids and their families.  It’s fun, exciting, and delicious to eat what we grow together too!  Also, fresh food from plants is healthy and nutritious!”  Here she is with some very dedicated kids at a 2017 stewardship event.

Thanks to all members of the Children’s Garden Committee between 2001 and today! Each has given so much of their time, energy, and creativity and made very special contributions to the garden itself as well as our events!