John Ball headshot

Dr. John Ball

Dr. John Ball, Professor & Extension Forestry Specialist at South Dakota State University & South Dakota Department of Agriculture Forest Health Specialist

John Ball is currently a Professor of Forestry at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD, and serves as a campus arborist for the University and as the Forest Health Specialist for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture. He received the Malo Teaching Excellence Award in 2018 for his dedication to student learning. One of his primary research interests is tree worker safety. Dr. Ball obtained his Ph.D. and M.S. in Forestry from Michigan State University and a B.S. in Forestry from Michigan Technological University. Dr. Ball is also on the Safety Committee for the Tree Care Industry Association.

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Dr. Kathleen Wolf

Dr. Kathleen Wolf, University of Washington, College of the Environment

Dr. Kathleen Wolf is a Research Social Scientist with the College of the Environment, University of Washington, and also partners with the USDA Forest Service on urban ecosystems projects. Kathy's studies are based on the principles of environmental psychology; her professional mission is to discover, understand and communicate human behavior and benefits, as people experience nature in cities and towns. She is also interested in how scientific information can be integrated into local government policy and planning. An overview of Dr. Wolf's research programs can be found at www.naturewithin.info; additional research findings on Green Cities: Good Health: www.greenhealth.washington.edu

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Dr. Matt Ritter

Dr. Matt Ritter, Professor, Biology Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Dr. Matt Ritter grew up in rural Mendocino County, California. After earning a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from U.C. Santa Barbara, he attended U.C. San Diego for a Ph.D. in plant biology. He’s a botany professor in the Biological Sciences Department at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California, where he lives with his wife and two children. He’s the author of several books, including a new guide to California’s flora, California Plants: A Guide to our Iconic Flora (www.pacificstreetpublishing.com). He also wrote the funniest and best-selling guide to California’s urban forest, A Californian’s Guide to the Trees among Us (Heyday, 2011). His writing has appeared in several magazines, including a regular column on tree diversity in Pacific Horticulture. He won the Cal Poly’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture Award for Excellence in Education. He is the California Coordinator of the American Forests Big Tree Registry, which studies California’s native plants, and trees that escape cultivation, particularly Eucalyptus. He’s an avid woodworker, mason, and gardener.

Gary Johnson - headshot

Dr. Gary Johnson

Dr. Gary Johnson, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota

Gary Johnson has been on the faculty of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Forest Resources since 1992, currently as Professor Emeritus. His research has focused on tree health management, impacts of planting practices and tree production on long-term health, and tree failures during wind loading events. Prior to Minnesota, he was on the faculties of the Universities of New Hampshire and Maryland. He has over 10 years as a seasonal nursery worker and more than 20 years as a practicing and consulting arborist.

Executive Director

Ross Shrigley

Ross Shrigley, Executive Director, Plant Select®

Plant Select® is a nonprofit collaboration of Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens, and professional horticulturists. Our mission is to seek out and distribute the very best plants for landscapes and gardens from the intermountain region to the high plains and beyond. Plant Select® is the country’s leading brand of plants designed to thrive in high plains and intermountain regions, offering plants that provide more beauty with less work so gardeners of all levels can achieve smart, stunning, and successful gardens using fewer resources and with a more positive environmental impact.

Plant Select’s goal is to create smart plant choices for a new American Landscape inspired by the Rocky Mountain Region. Plants are chosen for the program exhibit these eight attributes: flourish with less water, thrive in a broad range of conditions, reliably habitat-friendly, proven to be tough and resilient in challenging climates, one of a kind/unique, resist disease & insects, offer long-lasting beauty, and are non-invasive

Shaku Nair

Dr. Shaku Nair

Dr. Shaku Nair, Associate in Extension - Community Integrated Pest Management, University of Arizona, Maricopa Agricultural Center                        

Dr. Shaku Nair is an entomologist by passion and profession, and a strong advocate of integrated pest management (IPM) to manage pests in any situation. She has expertise in IPM in natural and structural environments. Her primary responsibilities include translational research on pest management and community education, and facilitating IPM implementation and adoption in different community environments in Arizona such as schools, housing, turf and landscape, recreational areas and medical facilities. Shaku currently is an Associate in Extension, Community IPM at the Arizona Pest Management Center, University of Arizona.

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Ann Audrey

Ann Audrey, Environmental Consultant, MS Hydrology and Water Resources, MS Nutritional Biochemistry, University of Arizona

Ann Audrey is an environmental consultant working in the fields of urban tree management, rainwater harvesting, and sustainable design. She edited the 350-page American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) Rainwater Harvesting Manual, which is used throughout the US to train rainwater harvesting professionals. Additional projects include developing guidance on expanding the use of native and cultivated fruit and nut trees in Arizona through the LEAF Network (Linking Edible Arizona Forests), preparing water harvesting guidance for urban forests around Arizona, and developing best practices to increase the use of native trees to improve urban forest resilience in Tucson. She is currently managing a project to develop a response guide to insect and disease threats in the urban forests of Arizona and New Mexico.