Public Policy & Partnerships
Since 1977, the Delaware Center for Horticulture (DCH) has cultivated a greener community by bringing people and plants together. Our work includes creating and maintaining the first Urban Farm in the city of Wilmington, creating and supporting over 40 community gardens, beautifying public landscapes, planting and advising on the urban placement of trees, and hosting community events and educational programs, including our Branches to Chances Return to Work program. Because much of our work occurs in low income neighborhoods with higher rates of disease, environmental contamination, and poor access to healthy foods, our educational efforts also emphasize the personal health and sustainability benefits of gardening.
DCH is the only nonprofit membership organization in Delaware that mobilizes and inspires community greening statewide in urban and suburban environments. By inspiring an appreciation for improving our environment through horticulture, education, and conservation, we have become a leader in improving and beautifying communities by harnessing the power of our members, volunteers, and staff to go out and make a difference.
Our members come from Delaware and the surrounding region and bring with them a passion for plants only matched by that of our staff members.
With more than 600 active and dedicated volunteers annually, we have a tremendous amount of community support, which allows us to accomplish the impossible.
Why It Matters
The work of DCH strengthens the social fabric and builds more livable towns and cities by enhancing the environmental, economic, and aesthetic qualities of our cities and state. Working together, we create neighborhoods that are healthier, more attractive, and more ecologically sustainable. Simply put, DCH is about people and plants.
Vikram Krishnamurthy has been DCH’s executive director since September 2015, after having previously served as our tree program manager from 2002-2005. His current priorities for the organization include achieving certification for nonprofit standards of excellence, launching DCH’s new strategic plan, and developing new youth programming to support the national Seed Your Future initiative. Vikram represents DCH on numerous boards and work groups, including the Delaware Recycling Public Advisory Council, Delaware Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act (offsets work group), Chesapeake Foodshed Network (steering committee), and Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank (technical board). His professional affiliations include DE Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement and the American Public Gardens Association, where he founded the Emerging Professional section and its growing membership in 2011. Vikram holds an A.A.S. in Horticulture Technology from J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College, B.S. in Anthropology from James Madison University, and Graduate Studies (M.A. candidate) in Urban Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Delaware.
As Director of Advancement, Marcia Stephenson leads and advances the organization’s donor engagement, fundraising, and philanthropic initiatives. She leads a team responsible for the full range of advancement activities for DCH with a primary focus on strategic outreach and stewardship of individual, foundation, corporate, and governmental relationships. Having been with DCH for more than 16 years, Marcia previously served as the Member-Donor Relations Manager. In that role, she grew DCH’s membership and donor base and increased volunteer involvement throughout all aspects of the organization while managing major fundraising drives, including our Annual Appeals, and coordinating large-scale aspects of our Rare Plant Auction®. Marcia holds a B.S. in Horticulture with a minor in Art from the University of Delaware.
Tel::(302) 658-6262 ext. 105
As the Director of Greening Programs, Renee leads the administration and development of DCH’s greening programs, including community forestry, urban agriculture, community gardens, and public landscapes. Born and raised in Selma, Alabama, her love of horticulture started at a young age through playing golf. After graduating from college, she moved to Tampa, FL and started her career in Commercial Horticulture, where she also became an ISA Certified Arborist. She served as Curator of Woody Plants at Norfolk Botanical Garden from 2015-19. Renee holds a B.S. in Horticulture from Auburn University.
Tel::(302) 658-6262 ext. 102
As Communications Manager for DCH, Catherine manages media relations, social media, event publicity, and general communications across the organization. Working to spread the word about DCH to all corners of the world, Catherine writes copy for many of DCH’s internal and external communications and manages the content and design processes for its publications, including the Rare Plant Auction, Annual Appeals, and Annual Reports. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Delaware and a M.S. in Communications from Drexel University. Previously, she worked as Deputy Communications Director for Governor Minner and Manager of Media Relations for the State of Delaware’s Office of Management and Budget.
Tel::(302) 658-6262 ext. 125
Betsy Kerlin, M.S., is the Grants Manager at DCH. Her primary responsibility is to support the research and programmatic activities of DCH staff in pursuit of external funding. She assists staff in identifying potential funding sources and developing proposal narratives and budgets, drafts and negotiates contracts, and provides post-award assistance with subcontracts, award modifications, no-cost extensions, budget revisions, and grant reporting. Before joining DCH, Betsy was the Executive Director at North Central Conservancy Trust, a nonprofit land trust in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. She holds a M.S. in Forest Resources from The Pennsylvania State University.
Tel::(302) 658-6262 ext. 104
As Special Events Coordinator, Erica Razze is the primary contact for all facility rentals at DCH, including private parties, corporate events and retreats, and weddings. In her role, Erica oversees the scheduling, catering, and facility coordination for all DCH rental space from our larger meeting spaces to the gardens on the grounds. Erica brings expert event coordination knowledge to DCH, planning events for multiple private and corporate clients over the past decade. She has worked extensively with DCH in the past as the Catering Director at Toscana. She holds a B.S. in business from Philadelphia University.
Tel::(302) 658-6262 ext. 110
As DCH’s Office Manager, Lauren is responsible for administrative duties, supporting the Executive Director, and supporting all DCH programs. Previously, she worked in a variety of customer service and operations roles with local retailers.
Tel::(302) 658-6262 ext. 100
DCH’s Education Manager Nora Melley heads up all of our education programming and develops curriculum for students from 1 to 99. Previously, she ran a horticultural program in Philadelphia at Abraham Lincoln High School and led her students to receive a bronze medal for their exhibit at the 2020 Philadelphia Flower Show. Nora’s career began on a six-acre organic vegetable farm. She holds a B.S. in horticulture from Temple and a post-baccalaureate teaching certificate from Drexel University in general secondary science, biology, and vocational horticulture.
As DCH’s Marketing and Outreach Coordinator, Wes Wootten maintains our social media accounts, event promotion, and other marketing materials. He holds a B.A. in Public Policy and History from the University of Delaware and has experience in both the education and horticulture fields. Previously, Wes worked with Delaware Cooperative Extension creating digital content for their outreach programs.
Tel::(302) 658-6262 ext. 107
Gordon Starr brings tremendous passion for volunteerism and community engagement to his role as DCH’s Membership and Volunteer Manager. Working with the Director of Advancement, he develops and implements programs, events, and campaigns to attract new members and coordinates all of the organization’s volunteer efforts and needs. A native of Boston, MA, Gordon formerly served as the Senior Volunteer Services Specialist for the American Red Cross in Fresno, CA. He holds a B.A. in Sociology from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.
Tel::(302) 658-6262 ext. 108
Adrienne plans and implements the production, sale, and marketing of fresh vegetables and fruits at DCH’s E. D. Robinson Urban Farm at 12th & Brandywine, interacting with visitors and customers at the farmer’s market. She holds a B.S. in Communications from Howard University and is a longtime Wilmington resident. Adrienne is a member of PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) and the 2016 Recipient of the Nancy Caroon Travel Scholarship.
Tel::(302) 658-6262 ext. 106
Landscapes Manager Emily Salmons leads the design, planning, and maintenance efforts for DCH across all of our public landscapes and back gardens. A graduate of Longwood Gardens’ Professional Horticulture Program and former gardener at Longwood in the West Section, her past experience includes the annual display, bulbs, and Christmas display in the Visitors’ Center at Longwood, among other horticultural displays and projects. Emily has owned and operated a garden design business for 20 years and formerly served as partner in a litigation law firm specializing in environmental law. She loves to run, bike, swim, and ski and has a house full with her husband, two sons, and two dogs.
Elizabeth Ostrowski is the GIS and Data Specialist at DCH and leads all GIS and data science work for greening projects across the organization. Beginning her career with a community garden-focused position, she has spearheaded the GIS portion of various urban forestry, conservation, and ecological projects around the world. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys creating art, building robots, gardening, hiking, kayaking, and various other outdoor activities. She holds a B.S. in Ecology and Natural Resources and a certificate in Environmental Geomatics from Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.
As this year’s DCH summer intern, Conner Graybeal contributes to the planning and maintenance of DCH’s public landscapes and facility gardens. She is currently a landscape architecture student at the University of Delaware. With an interest in historical landscapes/gardens, she is excited to spend her 10-week internship splitting her time between DCH and Marian Coffin’s Gardens at Gibraltar.
Keegan Phalen, our Public Landscapes Apprentice, works with the Greening team to support maintenance, installation, and watering efforts for all of our public landscapes. In his role, Keegan also works with the team to learn and identify native plants and techniques for working in the field. Formerly, he was the 2019-2020 Public Ally with DCH, supporting our Membership and Volunteer department. A native Delawarean, Keegan has a great passion for plants. He holds a certification in plant anatomy and physiology from Longwood Gardens and an AAS from Delaware Technical Community College in Hospitality Management.
Board of Directors
Council of Advisors
Partnerships and collaborations are cornerstones of DCH’s work to achieve collective impact. As a regional leader in public greening, DCH is a dedicated advocate for creating healthier communities through the power of plants and bringing partners together to address multi-faceted issues in a comprehensive manner. Our partners are diverse and far-reaching and reflect the various aspects of our organization. We work with governments, private corporations, local schools, city residents, and civic organizations to grow a stronger, more beautiful city, county, and state. In each instance, our goal is to creatively connect people to solve ecological problems through the broad world of public horticulture.
- American Horticultural Society
- American Public Gardens Association
- Alliance for Community Trees (ACTrees)
- Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement (DANA)
- Delaware Community Foundation (DCF)
- Delaware Council on Farm and Food Policy
- Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA)
- Delaware Department of Justice (DOJ)
- Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC)
- Delaware Forest Service (DFS)
- Delaware Grounds Maintenance Association (DGMA)
- Delaware Nursery & Landscape Association (DNLA)
- Delaware Urban Farm and Food Coalition (DEUFFC)
- Green Wilmington*
- SEED Your Future*
- Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank*
*Denotes organizations where DCH staff has official capacity on board or governing body.
To join our movement or to get more information on how you or your organization can get involved with DCH, contact Vikram Krishnamurthy, DCH’s Executive Director, at (302) 658-6262 ext. 101.
The Delaware Center for Horticulture inspires individuals and communities through the power of plants. We recognize the advantages of a diverse workforce through the commitment to equal employment opportunity is dedicated to principles of equal opportunity employment without regard to race, religion, color, age, disability, sexual orientation, or national origin.
We have no current openings at this time.