Our Team

Rebecca Lemos-Otero

Co-Founder + Executive Director
Email: rebecca@cityblossoms.org

Over a decade ago Rebecca was asked if she would like to do a small gardening project with a group of kids in a local community center. From that point on she grew to see urban gardening as a way to combine her interests in art, community participation, and everything green. Since then Rebecca has worked with children and youth of all ages. Rebecca has a BA from Fordham University, and an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art.

 
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Elizabeth Milo

Director of Communications + Administration
Email: milo@cityblossoms.org

Milo (yep, she goes by Milo) hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Portland of the East coast.  She attended Denison University where she received her degree in English and Theater.  Always a people-person, Milo moved to DC to pursue a career in communications and public relations.  Having grown up with a garden in her backyard and a passion for cooking, working on the City Blossoms team is a perfect way to merge her interests with work she can be passionate about.

 

Willa Pohlman

Director of Community Green Spaces + Trainings
Email: willa@cityblossoms.org

Willa started working with City Blossoms in 2012 as a rockin’ maintenance intern. After ending her internship she just wasn’t ready to go and joined the team full-time as an Educator. Originally from Vermont, Willa brings to this work her experience of growing up on her family’s farm and her passion for community development.

 
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MAlka Roth

Lead Educator + Youth Coordinator
Email: malka@cityblossoms.org

Malka grew up in northern Virginia but spent seven years living in the Hudson Valley, New York where she first became infatuated with flowers and pulling root vegetables out of the ground. She also spent her time there working with teens who had committed crimes, first as a program coordinator at a non-secure residential center and then through a non-profit. She has, on numerous occasions, tried to merge these two passions -- vegetables and working with teens -- and loves that City Blossoms will do just that. She continuously finds ways to stay a student, this past year studying American Sign Language at Gallaudet University, and currently taking classes to learn more about herbal medicine. 

 
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Jessica Richards-Murray

Lead Educator + School Gardens Coordinator
Email: jessica@cityblossoms.org

Jessica has always been found amongst the "wild things." When she moved to DC in 2003 to attend Howard Univ., she realized how much she missed the days when she would visit her grandmother in the country, shucking purple hull peas grown on her grandmother's land. It then became her goal to find the sustainable balance of her Southern roots and city living. She loves having the opportunity to do work empowering youth and creatively engaging them in response to their communities' needs through the arts and urban farming with CB.

 

Hillary quarles

Volunteer + Outreach Fellow
Email: info@cityblossoms.org

Hillary grew up in the vegetable garden on a farm near Charlottesville, Virginia. After years of snacking on rhubarb, tomatoes and sweet corn, she decided to share her love of the outdoors with others by planning parks and trail systems.  A long time resident of DC, Hillary has been growing vegetables for her family and friends for almost twenty years.  At City Blossoms, Hillary uses her planning experience to bring in volunteers and pass on her love of gardening.

 

Tali Cohen

Resident Artist

Tali, a Studio Art major at the University of Maryland, College Park, has been hanging out with City Blossoms for over a year as their Resident Artist. She splits her time between doodling in her sketchbook, enjoying peaches in the sun, and studying for her Master's in Education. She's found City Blossoms to be the perfect avenue to merge her interests in creative expression, beyond-the-classroom education, and the beautiful outdoors. She is so excited to work with community members in the development of a new mural as her next project! 

 
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Sae - Youth Staff

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Romario - youth staff

 
City Blossoms also works with a dynamic team of interns and summer youth staff throughout the year to provide direct opportunities for young people to gain experience in the professional and urban gardening fields. If you are interested in such a position, check out more info here.
 
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Nicole Schenkman - Maintenance Intern

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Adrien Gontier - Maintenance Intern

 

Our Board

We believe deeply that every kid in this city has a super power just waiting to be discovered in the garden – be it a panache for seeing possibility in everything, a fierce desire to nourish family and community, or an insatiable sense of wonder – and it is our job to give them a safe and beautiful place to explore their super powers. In the process, we discover our own.
— Katie Rehwaldt, Chairperson of the Board

Katie Rehwaldt, chairperson

Katie matriculated through DC Public Schools from Pre-K to 12th grade where she developed a deep appreciation for the Arts and the natural world. For almost 15 years, she was the Program Director of America the Beautiful Fund's (ABF) Operation Green Plant, which distributed tens of millions of pounds of garden seed to community planting projects across the country. During her tenure at ABF, Katie also Co-Founded Rooting DC, a free annual urban gardening forum designed to share knowledge and build community. Currently she is the Manager of Park Partners and Community Engagement for the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation. She enjoys experimenting with container gardens at her home in Brightwood and thinks tomato sandwiches alone are enough reason to garden.

 

Steven Muñoz, vice-chairperson

Steven has been the Director of the Lee Arts Center, a program of Arlington Cultural Affairs, since 2009. For several years prior, Steven was the Grants Officer for Arlington Cultural Affairs managing the grant program for the arts. He sat on the national board of directors for the Grants Managers Network and served as chair of the DC area chapter. Originally from New Mexico, Steven came to Washington, DC to attend American University where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in printmaking. Steven enjoys spending time as: a board member of City Blossoms, a certified DC Master Gardener, a dog owner, and a coffee drinker.

 

Juan Cardona, treasurer

Upon graduating from college, Juan went on to teach environmental education at a community-based learning center and then became an elementary school teacher in a bilingual Charter School. He was first introduced to City Blossoms as he taught children the importance of environmental stewardship and sustainability. He made a transition into real estate development, first as a tenant organizer, then as a development manager specializing in multifamily affordable housing. He is now a partner at Gragg Cardona Partners, a real estate development firm in Washington DC.

 

Todd Harper, secretary

A city boy from a farm state, Todd grew up outside of Chicago and earned degrees from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.  After spending nearly 15 years working in Congress, Todd is now an executive with the National Credit Union Administration where he covers press, politics, and policy matters.  While Todd’s vocation may be the financial services world, his avocations are gardening and helping others.  His basil pesto is one of the best in DC, having won the Besto Pesto award at City Blossoms’ Annual Basil Bonanza in 2015.

 

BRETT BRENNER

Deputy Director of Communications and Legislative Affairs, U.S. EEOC

 

DANA CHIECO

Associate Director of Leadership Gifts, University of Maryland

 

LUKE FIELDS - BOARD COUNCIL

Attorney, K&S Law Firm

 

Arsine Kailian

Consultant

 

PAMELA LARMEE

Principal, Strategic Philanthropy Services, LLC

 

MICHON LARTIGUE

Fundraising and Development Consultant

 

BRENDA PEREZ

Environmental Engineering Student

 

Derrick Lanardo Woody

Chief Executive Officer, DLW, LLC