View/Print Speaker and Tour Guide Bio PDF


Mary Holm – Host of “Prairie Yard & Garden”
Mary is the host of Pioneer Public TV’s Prairie Yard & Garden, beginning her TV career in 2014. With a farm background and degree in Agriculture from NDSU, Mary has years of gardening experience. She has worked as an Assistant County Agent, owned/operated the Neche (ND) Greenhouse for over 20 years, and finds time to work at Morning Sky Greenery, a native plant nursery at Morris. She is also the Executive Director for the North Dakota Nursery, Greenhouse & Landscape Association.


Amanda Bachmann, PhD – SDSU Extension Pesticide Education & Urban Entomology Field Specialist

Dr. Bachmann is the Pesticide Education and Urban Entomology Field Specialist with SDSU Extension and is based in Pierre. She has a PhD degree in Entomology from Penn State. Her responsibilities include providing pesticide safety education and training for commercial and private applicators in South Dakota. As an urban entomologist, she works not only with the ‘traditional’ urban pests like bed bugs and mosquitos but also urban pollinators and other beneficial insects.

Rhoda Burrows, PhD – Professor & SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist

Dr. Burrows is a horticulturist with SDSU Extension, specializing in fruit and vegetable production. She is particularly interested in holistic gardening, and earned her PhD degree studying mycorrhizal fungi inhabiting prairie plants. Dr. Burrows enjoys exchanging knowledge with Master Gardeners and other growers.

Eileen Dowd-Stukel - Senior Wildlife Biologist, SD GF&P

Eileen is a Senior Wildlife Biologist with the SD GF&P, serving as the agency’s Wildlife Diversity Coordinator. In this position, she works with non-game and rare species and their native environments. Eileen has a B.S. degree in Fisheries & Wildlife from the University of Missouri and an M.S. degree in Wildlife Science from SDSU. Currently, Eileen is involved in the SD Monarch Plan development and in regional Monarch planning.

Dave Graper, PhD - SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist & Master Gardener Program Coordinator

Dr. Graper is Professor of Horticulture and has been with SDSU since 1990. He served as the South Dakota Master Gardener Program Coordinator from 1990 to 2003 and again from 2015 to the present. In 2006, Dave became Director of McCrory Gardens and the South Dakota Arboretum in Brookings, where he served for almost 10 years. For 18 years, Dave was a familiar face on SD Public Broadcasting’s Garden Line. Dr. Graper has a B.S. degree in Plant Science from the UW-River Falls, an M.S.degree in Horticulture from Colorado State and a PhD degree in Horticulture from the University of Maryland.

Tom Holm – Greenhouse Manager, West Central Research & Outreach Center

Tom has been the Greenhouse Manager at the West Central Research & Outreach Center at Morris, MN since 2005. He is involved with annual flower research, perennial trials, prairie habitats and many related projects. With a farm background and degree in Agriculture from NDSU, Tom has spent his life involved in horticulture. He has taught high school, owned/operated the Neche (ND) Greenhouse for over 20 years, and served on the Board of Directors and as President of the North Dakota Nursery, Greenhouse, & Landscape Association.

Aimee House-Ladonski - SDSU Extension Volunteer Development Field Specialist

As SDSU Extension's Volunteer Development Field Specialist, Aimee serves to increase programming capacity in South Dakota communities by recruiting and engaging volunteers and national service members in a wide spectrum of activities. She has a Master of Public Administration Degree from the University of South Dakota, a Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies Degree from Purdue University, a Certificate in Volunteer Administration and is an AmeriCorps National Service Alum.

Margaret Murphy – Iowa State University Extension Horticulture Educator

Margaret Murphy serves as Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach Horticulture Educator for four counties in Northwest Iowa, coordinating the Master Gardener Program and the Community Food System program. In 2015, Margaret chaired the Green Committee for the International Master Gardener Conference. She served on the Iowa Master Gardener State Advisory Committee from 2012-2016. Margaret holds an M.S. degree in Biology and a certificate in Sustainable Food Systems from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Tim Schreiner – Professional Photographer

Tim Schreiner is a freelance photographer and professional journalist who has been photographing architecture, gardens and events for more than four decades. During his career, which started in Sioux Falls and took him across the United States, he has published photographs in newspapers, magazines, and on television and websites. He was most recently a professional-in-residence at Louisiana State University and now lives in Vermillion, SD.

Sarah Stowers

Sarah is a plant scientist whose career includes plant biotechnology, plant tissue culture and plant archives. She has a lifelong interest in plants; a lifelong interest in asking questions and has been fortunate to be able to explore these interests throughout the world. She has a B.S. degree in Biology and an M.S. degree in Plant Science and is currently employed at Inari Agriculture, Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Mary Ellen Connelly

The Japanese Gardens at Terrace Park originated with Joseph Maddox in the early 1900s. Mary Ellen has been involved with the Japanese Garden restoration committee since the mid-1980s (about the same time she became a Master Gardener). She founded Perennial Passion in Sioux Falls, which she owned and operated until 2005 when she retired. In 2002 she published a book on perennial plants called “How Our Garden Grows” and has written many gardening columns. She is a passionate environmentalist and has served on many boards and committees. She has received the John Robertson award from the SD State Horticulture Society and the Sioux Falls Mayor’s Beautification Award. She also enjoys photography and painting.

Vanessa Lambert

Vanessa Lambert is currently the Seasonal Horticultural Assistant at the SDSU Extension Regional Center in Sioux Falls and is an active Master Gardener. Previously, Vanessa worked at the Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum for 5 years. She has also worked at the Sertoma Butterfly House and at the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum. She frequently shares her knowledge of pollinators through public presentations and hands-on experiences. In fall, she rescues Monarch butterfly eggs and larvae to help the species survive.

James Hennings

Jim Henning is the park manager at Good Earth State Park at Blood Run. He has been with SD Game, Fish and Parks for nearly 3 years. Before starting with GF&P, Jim worked as a naturalist in Iowa for 7 years. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Conservation Management from Upper Iowa University. Jim feels very fortunate to work in a field that allows him to share his love for the natural world with others.

Mike Ollerich

Mike graduated from SDSU in 2009 with a B.S. degree in Park Management. While attending SDSU he worked for The Nature Conservancy out of Clear Lake, SD. After graduating he and his wife moved to Sturgis where he worked for the City Parks Department and was then hired by the City of Spearfish Parks Department. He was hired by the City of Sioux Falls in 2011 and moved back “east". Since starting at the City of Sioux Falls he has worked at Sertoma Park, Drake Springs and was then promoted to Park Caretaker in spring 2016 and has been at Falls Park since.