Executive Director

Welcome Gretchen Ambrosier, MSHS' New Executive Director!

Gretchen is a 1998 graduate of the University of Minnesota and a 2003 graduate of St. Mary’s University. She is an avid Golden Gopher and has spent the last three years working as the vice president of engagement at the University of Minnesota Alumni Association. Prior to her position at the U, she worked at Ronald McDonald House Charities and the American Red Cross. As someone who enjoys gardening and who believes in the education and outreach provided by the society, she is excited to join MSHS as executive director.

Learn more about Gretchen

Board of Directors

Duties and Responsibilities

The MSHS Board of Directors is responsible for the fulfillment of the organization's mission, goals and obligations to all constituents. Board members: assist in the development and execution of organizational policy, provide representation and communication to MSHS constituents, and actively assist in fundraising efforts. They provide critical review of programs and operation functions and assume legal responsibility for the financial functions and obligations of the organization. In addition, they provide direction to the Chief Executive Officer in the allocation of MSHS resources in a manner to best serve the interests of MSHS, and review and approve budget and audit reports as presented by the Executive Committee. They also volunteer the use of personal services, expertise and/or skills as needed by the organization and serve on one or more committees and/or task forces in providing special expertise and/or skills to MSHS. All board members must be current members and make a personal contribution. Our board currently meets bi-monthly.

How Board Members Are Appointed

The board is responsible for its own operations, including training and development of new members, annual evaluation of performance and the selection of new board members.

Length of Term

MSHS board members serve for 6 years.

For more information, please contact Gretchen at gambrosier@northerngardener.org.

Meet MSHS' Board of Directors


Mike Heger, Board Chair

Michael L. Heger has worked in both public and private horticulture. He spent the first fifteen years of his career at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. In 1985, Mike and his wife Jean opened a niche perennial nursery called Ambergate Gardens. Recently retired from the nursery, Mike now spends his time lecturing, writing and consulting on issues related to gardening in northern regions. Mike is the author of "Perennials A to Z", a series of articles that were originally published in Minnesota Horticulturist and coauthor of "Growing Perennials in Cold Climates", a gardening book written specifically for the colder regions of this country. Mike served as Central Region Director of the Perennial Plant Association from 1988-1994 and he remains active in numerous plant societies and trade organizations related to perennial flowers. He has been awarded a Quill & Trowel Communication Award from the Garden Writers Association, the Distinguished Service Award and the Award of Merit from the Minnesota State Horticultural Society, the Special Service Award from the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association as well as the Service Award from the Perennial Plant Association.


Wayne Damerow, Vice Chair

Wayne Damerow has been on the MSHS Board of Directors for several years. He retired in 2012 after working 37+ years as a forester for the State of MN - DNR.  He also previously served on the Board of Directors for the Northland Arboretum in Baxter, MN.  He is an active gardener at his home in Shoreview, MN with a special interest in growing dahlias.


Margaret A. Klis, Treasurer

Margaret is an at-large member of the MSHS board.


Joel Karsten, Secretary

A farm boy who grew up tending a soil garden, Joel shook up the gardening world with his first book describing his breakthrough Straw Bale Gardening concept.  The New York Times called Straw Bale Gardening “a revolutionary gardening method.” Karsten earned a B.S. in Horticulture from the University of Minnesota and spends his summers tending his vegetable garden, doing research, and experimenting with new ideas and methods he can pass along to his followers.  He is a popular speaker, making appearances around the world.


Tina Dombrowski, At-Large

Tina earned a Bachelor of Science, Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture at Cornell University, Ithaca NY. She’s had over thirty years’ experience in horticulture. Tina is currently Horticulture Manager at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory; she’s been there since 2006 and oversees horticultural operations of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, Como Zoo, Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Gardens and select ornamental gardens in Como Park.


Jennifer Ebeling, At-Large

Jennifer is an at-large member of the MSHS board.


Del Hampton, At-Large

Del is an at-large member of the MSHS board.


Debra Kvamme, At-Large

Deb is an at-large member of the MSHS board.


Susan Rupert, At-Large

Susan Rupert has more than 24 years of experience working in the horticultural industry and has managed all aspects of the business from production and growing to selling. Currently, Susan works in sales for Gardenworld Inc. where she manages a Midwest sales territory. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Horticulture from the University of Minnesota and is a Certified Nursery and Landscape Professional. Her enthusiasm for plants and love of gardening has not only made her a great asset to her customers but has brought great opportunities to serve a bigger gardening community. Susan lives in the Twin Cities with her husband Jason.


Ben Schrepf, At-Large

Ben is an at-large member of the MSHS board.


Laura Wagner, At-Large

Laura earned a B.S. degree in Education from Drake University and MBA from the University of St Thomas. She grew up at her family’s greenhouse—Wagners Greenhouses in Minneapolis—and is part of the 5th  generation of the family working at the greenhouse. Laura has worked at Wagners full time since 2008 and currently works in marketing. She enjoys taking care of the flower beds and large vegetable garden with her husband at their home in Shakopee. Her favorite plants are begonias because they are so versatile and easy-to-care for.


JoAnne Wahlstrom, At-Large

JoAnne is an at-large member of the MSHS board.

Get Involved!

Interested in becoming a board member? Email us to learn more.