Children’s Garden Committee member bios

Members of the Magnuson Children’s Garden Committee come from many different backgrounds, professional and personal experiences! The bios below are listed in order of how long each member has been part of the committee:

Sarah Winkowski: Treasurer/Education Team member  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!   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 an edible garden called the Snack House, which was requested by our young visitors, into reality.  Now that it is complete, she has helped lead the Design Team in the re-design of the whole south end of the garden to make its pathways more accessible for visitors of all ages and abilities.  She also volunteered on the Mural Team to ensure that the new pathways and the new mural kiosk fit together well. The skills she brings to the team include 3D modeling, landscape design and graphic design.  In 2021 and 2022, she volunteered as the Social Media Leader, and in 2022 also was a Design Team Co-leader.  Here she is enjoying a beautiful day in Gas Work Park.

Shannon Poll: Food Garden Co-Leader/Design Team Co-Leader/Garden Monitoring Team Leader.  Shannon was born and raised in Western Washington, and spent her childhood tending to the land of her grandparent’s farm in Yelm, WA. This is where she developed a love for the garden, animals, and growing edibles. She thinks you can have a garden anywhere, and even grew vegetables in a small apartment at the University of Washington!  At her current Seattle home, Shannon took out the lawn grass and created a garden where she teaches her children and local preschoolers about gardening and worm composting.

After a career in business and finance, Shannon is pursuing a landscape design degree at Edmonds Community College, and started volunteering at the Children’s Garden in the spring of 2020 after completing the Master Gardener training.  She fell in love with the garden and has been busy incorporating more edibles into its hillside beds and its p-patch plot as Food Gardening Co-leader.  In 2022, she also volunteered to Co-lead the Design Team and to lead the Garden Monitoring Team!


Carol Laurier: Food Garden Co-Leader/Design Team Co-Leader.  Carol also started volunteering at the Children’s Garden in the spring of 2020 after completing the Master Gardener training.  She too fell in love with the garden, volunteered to be Food Gardening Co-leader, and has been busy incorporating more edibles and more pollinator plants into the Children’s Garden and its p-patch.   Her artistic skills have been a huge asset to her co-leadership of the Design Team, and her organizational skills have resulted in much easier access to all Children’s Garden tools, supplies, and teaching materials at our events! Here she is helping plant sunflowers in one of the hillside beds.

Bridget Sachse: Refreshments Leader/Tool Manager/Design Team member.  Bridget took Master Gardener training in 2019, and started volunteering at the Children’s Garden in the spring of 2020, quickly jumping in to help steward the butterfly-shaped Pollinator Garden, located in the west hillside bed.  She also joined the Design Team, and her many years as an Occupational Therapist for children provided huge inspiration and wise consult for our new wheelchair-accessible pathways and mural project, as well as great ideas for future accessibility improvements.  In 2022, she also volunteered to be Refreshments Leader, an important ingredient in the fun factor at all our events! Here she is helping guide a UW Environmental Education student in the Pollinator Garden.

Other CG Committee member and Education Team member bios coming soon!

  • Elisa Frost
  • Claire Carbary
  • Rebecca Rogers
  • Jessica Souyoultzis
  • Cristina Cartledge
  • Carol Bartonlini
  • Martha Taylor

Emeritus Committee Members:

Emily Bishton:   Emily joined the Children’s Garden Committee in 2003, and was its chair from 2012-2017.  In 2005, she also founded the Magnuson Community Center Nature Programs, and served as its director and lead educator until the fall of 2017.  Though she moved to a small village near the Arizona-Mexico border, she still volunteered until the end of 2023:  long distance as Webmaster and E-newsletter editor, and in-person during occasional visits to Seattle. Over the years, Emily led many Children’s Garden projects, including the creation of the Pollinator Garden, Willow House, Snack Garden and other wheelchair-accessible additions, in addition to working with artist Sandy Bricel Miller and over 100 youth to create the 2 beautiful “All Are Welcome” murals in 2021.  She says, “The Children’s Garden will always be a home for me, and I love being there with all the volunteers, kids, and families!” Here she is a few years ago in the Children’s Garden P-Patch plot with a local girl scout troop

Loie Hanson 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 was a volunteer docent with Magnuson Nature Programs for two years. She says, “Now I like to share my love of gardening with my grandchildren as well as with Magnuson Children’s Garden visitors!”  Loie wore many hats while on the committee: Refreshments Leader, Community Garden Board and Master Gardener Program “Garden Leadership Team” representative, Design Team and Education Team member, and Volunteer Coordinator.  Here she is a few years ago, showing new volunteers the “clean green” yard waste area at a fall stewardship event.


Cindy Hazard:  Cindy is a longtime Seattle-area 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 one of the scores of stewardship events she led during the garden’s first 15 years.

Christina Pfeiffer: Chris is a longtime Seattle-area horticulturist consulting arborist, and instructor, and was a founding member of the Children’s Garden Committee in 2001. She co-led the original community design charrettes with Cindy Hazard (see above) and dozens of stewardship events that planted the majority of its trees and shrubs.  Besides serving on the CG Committee for over a decade, Chris served as president of the Magnuson Community Garden board for several years. She is currently volunteering on the Plant Amnesty Education Committee, and under her guidance has begun hosting pruning education classes for professional landscapers in the Children’s Garden. Throughout the past 10 years, she has remained involved in the Children’s Garden to consult with the committee on the garden design, proper pruning methods, tree health, and much more. We are so lucky to have her sage advice and help in guiding the Children’s Garden into the future! 

Tina Kaempfer: 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.  Tina is also an expert at giving the “TLC treatment” to the Children’s Garden worm bin!  Here she is with kids at a Magnuson Nature Programs summer camp.

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.

Carol Furry: 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 even though she no longer has time to be an official committee member, she has continued to dedicate her volunteer time: In 2021, she spent dozens of volunteer hours as a member of the Mural Team, assisting artist Sandy Bricel Miller and over 100 local youth in the creation of the 2 wonderful new murals, and in 2022 joined the Education Team as well as helped co-lead some stewardship events. 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 the 2016 Magnuson Nature Programs winter break camp.

Becky Gawin:   Becky holds degrees in Secondary Education and Management from Arizona State University. After careers in secondary education, human resources and airport management, Becky left the arid Southwest for the greener environment of the Pacific NW.   In 2015, Becky joined the Magnuson Nature Programs as a volunteer docent. In addition to working with student groups, Becky developed fact-sheets on wildlife and other nature topics for use by the program.  When she joined the Children’s Garden Committee in 2020, she took on the assignment of Photo Documentarian, which gave her an outlet for her lifelong photography passion. In 2021 she also took on the role of Social Media Leader, and though she has now “passed that baton” on to Su, her wonderful photos are still featured thoughout our Facebook page. She has now found her way back to the Southwest, remaining happiest when her hands are working the soil. Here she is enjoying a field of Lupine flowers overlooking the waters of Puget Sound!

Eric Sladky: 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 made a huge difference in maintaining the garden’s good health and wise use of resources.  Here he is on the left in khaki shorts, at one of our springtime stewardship events.

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!”  Although she has resigned from the committee, we are very grateful that she continues to advise and consult the committee on Health & Safety Protocols. Here she is with kids at a 2017 Magnuson Nature Programs summer camp.

Other past members we’d like to acknowledge for their great contributions to the committee: Sarah Heater, Tanya White, Kelly Angell, Sandra Solack, and Heather Lecrone.

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 to our events!