Tuesday, 22 May 2018      Home | Membership

Vinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo Slider

Board of Overseers

Role of the Board of Overseers

Overseers are members of The Massachusetts Horticultural Society, who form a special diverse group which is committed to the mission of the Society. They strive to enhance the society's visibility and reputation throughout the Boston area and beyond. Overseers are elected to a three year term, but a term can be extended at the discretion of the Board. Their formal obligation is to attend two meetings a year.

Overseers are expected…

  • To be a current member of Mass Hort
  • To support Mass Hort financially to the best of member's ability
  • To act as a goodwill ambassador for Mass Hort in the wider community fostering good relationships with members, donors and friends of the Society
  • To identifying other individuals and organizations who should be involved and can contribute to Mass Hort

Overseers are encouraged to show their commitment to the Mass Hort by participating in at least one of the suggested opportunities:

  • Serve on a committee
  • Chair an event
  • Attend Mass Hort events
  • Provide expertise

In summary, Overseers are a special group of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society membership who believe in Mass Hort and are willing to contribute their valuable time and expertise to promoting the new vision of the Society.

Fiscal Year 2017
Scott Birney
Vivien Bouffard
Maureen Bousa
John Cronin

Chris Duminuco
Betty Ferris
Jodie M. Gilson

Jack Hesse
Richard Hohmann
Frank Hunnewell
Penni Jenkins
Heidi Kost-Gross
Beedee Ladd

Annette Lee
Jeanne Leszczynski

Betsy Ridge-Madsen

Suzanne Mahler

Marisa McCoy
Susan S. Mooney
Morgan Palmer

Greg Rubin
Art Scarpa
Connie Smith

Karin Stanley
Paul Steen

Suzanne Thatcher
Caroline Whitney

Overseer Biographies

D. Scott Birney is a graduate of Yale University and received the MA and PhD from Georgetown University. He was a member of the faculty at Wellesley College, and he retired from there in 1991. He has served for more than twenty years as a member of the Nomenclature Committee for the New England Spring Flower Show. He was formerly the Treasurer of the Wellesley College Friends of Horticulture. His garden in Wellesley won an Mass Hort gold medal in 1999, and he himself was a recipient of the MHS gold medal in 2000. Mr. Birney served as trustee since 2004-2011.

Vivien Bouffard - Vivien Bouffard has been a Master Gardener since 1998 and the Volunteer Coordinator for Mass Hort since Fall of 2009. She has recently taken a part-time position at Olin College as Registration and Scheduling Coordinator and helps to recruit volunteers there. Vivien was a founding member of the Norwood Evening Garden Club and is active in the New England Chapter of the North American Rock Gardening Society, which she joined for the seed exchange. Her other activities include playing piano/organ at church and assisting her clergy husband in local ministry. Horticulturally, she tries to grow everything and especially enjoys growing from seed.
John Cronin is a member of the Daylily, Hosta, and Rose societies and is a graduate of the MHS Master Gardeners program. He is a Civil Engineer and has been a leader in community and urban youth, outdoor education, and environmental programs. He is retired as the long time Milton Town Administrator. He served as a member of the Metropolitan District Commission in the administration of Gov. Francis Sargent.

Betty Ferris is former President of the Wellesley Garden Club and a former Trustee of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. She is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society and the Wellesley Conservation Council.

Jodie M. Gilson is the owner of J. Gilson Greenhouses, Inc. in Groton, MA. She represents the Massachusetts Flower Growers on the IPM Advisory Board of UMASS, is a Director of Massachusetts Agriculture in Classroom and Worker's Credit Union, and participated on the Groton Library Endowment Committee. Jodie is a member of Garden Writers Association. She has been a librarian and garden tour lecturer. 
Francis W. Hunnewell is the Chief Operating Officer of PI Worldwide, an international management consulting firm specializing in behavioral assessments and human capital analytics. He was previously President and CEO of a specialty sporting goods brand, and a Senior Consultant at Bain & Company in Boston. Frank is Director and Treasurer of the International Dendrological Research Institute and is on the Board of Corporators of the Middlesex Savings Bank, a $4 billion bank based in Natick, MA. Frank holds an AB from Harvard College and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College.

Penni Jenkins recently retired from her position as an accountant at a New York family office telecommuting from Walpole. She also has had experience working for an investment banking firm, accounting for a real estate project and office administration for a health testing firm. Her many volunteer activities combine her professional skills and her passion for plants. Penni is a master gardener and holds an office on the Board of the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association. She is an active member of two garden clubs and is a consultant of the NGS Landscape Design Council. For the past year she has worked one day a week in the office at Mass Hort.

Heidi Kost-Gross has been involved with the Massachusetts Horticultural Society since 1970. For the Wellesley Garden Club, she designed and built many gardens at the NE Spring Flower Show, chaired the Amateur Gardens Committee and other Flower Show committees and served on the MHS Director's Advisory Board, including Development. She is a graduate of the Radcliffe Seminars Program in Landscape Design and in Landscape History. She is a NOFA-certified Organic Landscape Professional and holds a degree in Agricultural Sciences (focus viticulture) and Land Management from Zweibruecken University, Germany. She serves as Commissioner of Natural Resources for the Town of Wellesley and is President of NELDHA, the New England Landscape Design and History Association and 1st Vice President of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts.

Berthe K. "Beedee" Ladd is a member of the Board of Advisors of CRWA, the Massachusetts Advisory Board of the Trust for Public Lands, the Board of Directors of The Murie Center in Moose, Wyoming, the Jackson Hole Land Trust Open Space Council, and the Development Committee of the Asian University for Women Support Foundation. Beedee splits her time between her home in Dover and Jackson Hole where her two children live.

Suzanne Mahler's garden is a National Display Garden for the American Daylily Society. She also exhibits her own hybridized daylilies and over 100 varieties of Iris and Hosta in this garden. Suzanne writes a weekly gardening column for South Look and is a garden photographer and lecturer. She has served on the Massachusetts State Federation Board, two executive boards for Hanover garden clubs and been director of the 30 South Shore District Clubs of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts. Suzanne has also served as President of the New England Daylily Society and Chairman of Clerks for the New England Spring Flower Show. She is a past Co-President of the New England Daylily Society and is employed at two nurseries. She is a former Mass Hort trustee. 

Morgan Palmer works with the Hunnewell Estates Trustees managing investments. He is a member of the Board of Visitors of the Walnut Hill School. His family estate, "The Cedars", won MHS' H. H. Hunnewell Gold Medal in 1923.

Art Scarpa is one of the founders and was the first President of the Cactus and Succulent Society of Mass. He is a past Vice President of the Indoor Gardeners of New England (part of the Hobby Greenhouse Association). Art is certified as a judge by the Cactus and Succulent Society of America and has competed and judged at numerous major shows, including Boston, Newport and Philadelphia and many regional cactus and succulent shows. Art helped to organize volunteers to plant the Mass Hort Gardens on the Greenway in 2008. He is also the chairman of the Society Row Plant Sale and organized the AmHort Structures at Blooms! in 2009 and 2010. He lectures about cacti, succulents, mini plants, and winter indoor growing plants to garden clubs and other horticulture-related associations. Before settling in Reading in 1976 with his wife, Kerstin and two children, Art lived in Sweden for 10 years working at a Swedish export company and teaching English and Italian as a second language.

Constance "Connie" Smith , a public relations liaison for New York book publishers, is also an avid gardener. What began as an interest in shade gardening blossomed into designing small perennial gardens for friends. Connie has earned a consultant certification from the Landscape Critic's Council. She is also an active community volunteer. She has been president of the Hunnewell School PTO and then the PTA of the Belmont Hill School where she continues to serve as a cooperator. She is a member of the Wellesley Historic Society and the Friends of the Wellesley Free Library where she has served as its president. As a member and officer of the Wellesley Service League, she spent five years participating in hands-on community service. Connie is an active member of the Hills Garden Club of Wellesley where she has held many offices and coordinated its garden tour.

Paul M. Steen is a board-certified internist formerly in the private practice of internal medicine for 15 years. Dr. Steen was Vice President of Clinical Development at McKesson Corporation in Newton, Massachusetts. Since his retirement in 2004, his activities include: Editor of Worcester Medicine magazine; is a delegate to the Massachusetts Medical Society's House of Delegates; he became a Certified Master Gardener in 2005 and is currently President of the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association; he is an Overseer for the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

Caroline Whitney is a committed volunteer to a wide variety of arts and horticultural organizations both in the United State and in Argentina, where she lived from 1962-1982. She has worked for over 10 years in leaderships roles on the New England Spring Flower Show Committee, presently as Judges' Chair for the Professional Garden Exhibits. She has created gardens and Horticulture exhibits in the Flower Show both with her club and as an individual exhibitor. Caroline's support for Mass Hort recently extended to participation in the Society's Education & Outreach Committee. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a Certificate for Landscape Design from Radcliffe (now the Landscape Institute at Harvard) and owns her own floral design company, Dandy Lion Designs in Cambridge. 

About the Massachusetts Horticultural Society

Mass Hort logo newFounded in 1829, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society is dedicated to encouraging the science and practice of horticulture and developing the public's enjoyment, appreciation, and understanding of plants and the environment.

2018 Calendar & Courses

2018 Masshort Courses

Friends of Mass Hort Events

No events