Public Policy & Partnerships
The Delaware Center for Horticulture inspires individuals and communities through the power of plants. Since 1977, we have cultivated a greener community by creating and maintaining the first Urban Farm in the city of Wilmington, beautifying public landscapes, planting and advising on the placement of urban trees, mobilizing volunteers, and hosting community events and educational programs, including our Branches to Chances Return to Work program, our Neighborhood Tree Steward Program, and our Gardening Program at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution. 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.
Landscapes Manager Joseph Poppiti leads the design, planning, and maintenance efforts for DCH across all of our public landscapes and back gardens. Previously, Joseph worked with the non-profit Delaware State Farm Bureau where he managed staff to promote agriculture, including the plant and nursery businesses in Delaware. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture from Pennsylvania State University, and over the past 20 years, has operated a landscaping business in the Wilmington area. His professional career focused on production agriculture starting on his family’s mushroom farm in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Joseph managed mushroom farms in several locations in the US. He also served on the mushroom association’s Board of Directors. He is active in several community gardens in Wilmington and Kennett Square.
DCH’s Grants Manager Valerie Shipman is responsible for the research, writing, and tracking of all grant opportunities and awards. Valerie is an experienced non-profit fundraiser and professional arts administrator whose 20-year career focus has been establishing and cultivating lasting interpersonal relationships with artists, patrons, donors, volunteers, and community members. She has managed fundraising campaigns, planned multiple special events and performances, and secured significant support for a variety of cultural organizations.
Kimberly Easlick is DCH’s 2021-2022 Public Ally working in Forestry and Urban Agriculture. They are responsible for collecting resources and photos to educate the community on tree care and food insecurity. Additionally, they will engage with various organizations and DCH members to promote environmental efforts. They hold a B.A. in History from the University at Albany. Outside of work, Kim enjoys spending time with animals, art, and baking!
Franklin is a 2021 graduate of the Branches to Chances Program and was hired before he even graduated to become a part of our Public Landscapes crew. He has quickly integrated himself into our work, taking on new responsibilities and helping our team get everything done on time and with attention to all details.
Ray is a graduate of the Branches to Chances Program and has been with DCH ever since graduating in 2017, working as a key member of the Public Landscapes team. Ray enjoys working with, guiding, and mentoring the crew, running equipment, and keeping our landscapes in top shape! He can also be found around the DCH grounds doing whatever it takes to keep things looking great.
As DCH’s Community Forester, Heather Titanich works to sustain a safe and equitable tree canopy across Wilmington. This involves coordinating tree plantings, securing sources of funding for tree care, and educating the public about the importance of trees in the built environment by leading DCH’s Neighborhood Tree Steward program. She has a background in public horticulture, where she worked to connect people with plants and promote the diversity of native species. Heather holds a B.S. in Forest Resource and Environmental Conservation from Virginia Tech. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, roller skating, and spending time with her cat.
As Director of Programs, Sue Wyndham leads the programming team in their activities related to advancing DCH’s educational, community outreach, and greening initiatives. With training and experience in the fields of landscape architecture, horticulture, and psychology, Sue has spent her career working within a variety of professional settings, advocating for the improvement of outdoor spaces through design, collaboration, and the promotion of environmental literacy and stewardship. In her spare time, she enjoys a wide variety of outdoor activities, personal gardening, reading, drawing, and time with friends, family, and pets. A graduate of Longwood Gardens’ Professional Horticulture Program, Sue is also a registered landscape architect with an MLA from SUNY-ESF, and a BA from the University of Delaware.
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 DCH’s Marketing and Content Specialist, 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
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
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 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
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
Bob oversees DCH’s facilities and Branches to Chances® program. He majored in Fire Science at City College in California and worked as a city firefighter for over 10 years before joining his family’s fire protection maintenance business. In addition to his work in Public Landscapes, Bob has worked with the Urban Agriculture program in building raised beds and maintaining the farm property, with Community Forestry in planting hundreds of trees, and with the Education program by supervising and mentoring Branches to Chances trainees over the years.
Tel::(302) 658-6262 ext. 118
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
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.
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.