Jessica Braswell, PhD
Jessica is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Queens University of Charlotte. In her teaching career, she has taught classes such as Conservation Biology, Ecology, Biostatistics, Environmental Science, and Environmental Economics. Her research interests include sustainability and most areas of conservation biology, particularly the effects of invasive species on native communities. Dr. Braswell has a B.S. with a double major in Environmental Science and Biology, an M.B.A, and a Ph.D. in Ecology.
Carrie DeJaco, PhD
Carrie is an Associate Professor of Biology at Queens University of Charlotte where she teaches Introductory Biology, Botany, Ecology, and Marine Biology, among other classes. She earned a B.A. and M.S. in Biology at the University of Louisville and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has conducted research in aquatic and terrestrial ecology with plants and animals in temperate and tropical habitats. Fascinated by the natural world, she loves learning about the organisms around us and how they interact with each other. She is always excited to introduce students to components and interactions they may not have previously noticed.
Denise Furr, MS
Denise earned her B.A. in Biology and Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. However, she spent most of her college education at University of North Carolina at Wilmington in the Marine Biology curriculum studying invertebrates. She is currently an Adjunct Curator of Malacology at the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia where her specialty is terrestrial and marine mollusks. She also has a certification in Environmental Education in North Carolina, a certification in Native Plant Studies from UNC Charlotte, and is a Central Carolinas Master Naturalist and an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer in Gaston County. Other than chasing snails, she is very interested in soil ecology and biology, as well as the conservation of pollinators and native ecosystems.
Jeff Gillman, PhD
Jeff has a Master’s degree in Entomology and a Ph.D. in Horticulture from the University of Georgia. He is the author of five books on gardening and the environment, a Contributing Editor to Fine Gardening Magazine, and has appeared on such shows as Martha Stewart and Growing a Greener World. From 1998 until 2013 he worked as an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticultural Science at the University of Minnesota, but the cold finally got to him! For the past two years he has been an instructor at Central Piedmont Community College, teaching courses on Plant Propagation, Plant Materials, and Hydroponics among others. As of August 2015, he is our new Director of the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens.
Paula Gross, MS
Paula is the Assistant Director of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Botanical Gardens. After receiving her Master’s degree in Horticulture at the University of Georgia, she worked at Goodness Grows Nursery in Lexington, GA where she fell further in love with perennials. The opportunity to teach and work at a public garden brought her to UNC Charlotte where, for the last 17 years, she has taught courses on botany, plant identification, and economic botany–which is the study of all the ways people utilize plants for practical purposes. “Sharing the World of Plants with People” at the Botanical Gardens keeps her exploring the interactions between the two and was inspiration for co-authoring the book Bizarre Botanicals with Larry Mellichamp. Whether sharing the secrets of orchid blooms that mimic bees or recommending a favorite garden plant, her passion for the green world is contagious.
Greg D. Pillar, PhD
Greg is the William S. Lee Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Chemistry at Queens University of Charlotte. Over the last 10 years, he has taught basic soil science, soil mineralogy, environmental impact assessment, environmental chemistry and other related soil-environment courses. Dr. Pillar holds a B.S. in Environmental Science (Soil Science and Hydrology) from the University of Minnesota, a M.S. in Agronomy (Soil Science) from Kansas State University and a Ph.D. in Agronomy (Environmental Chemistry) from the University of Georgia.
Larry Mellichamp, Ph.D.
Larry is a recently retired Professor of Botany and Horticulture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he taught for over 39 years. He was also director of the University’s Botanical Gardens with its 10 acres of outdoor gardens including many native plants. The new Mellichamp Natives Terrace Garden demonstrates the use of natives directly for the homeowner. Larry is an expert on native wildflowers, trees and shrubs, and also studies carnivorous plants, especially Sarracenia pitcher plants.
He has written many technical and popular articles on plants and gardening, and has co-authored five books: including The Winter Garden (1997); Bizarre Botanicals with Paula Gross (2010), and most recently (2014), Native Plants of the Southeast (and their garden uses). He has traveled extensively in the United States, and has made trips to see unusual plants in Costa Rica, South Africa, Borneo, China, Australia and most recently, Madagascar.
Jean Woods, MA
Jean holds a B.A. In Mathematics from the University of Delaware, and a Masters of Pastoral Studies, from Loyola University, New Orleans. Jean obtained her Certificate in Native Plant Studies in 2011 with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and has done course work in Botany at UNC Charlotte: Field Botany, Plant Systematics, and Dendrology. Her passion for native plants led her to the North Carolina Native Plant Society, where she has acted as president, and she is a past board member of the Catawba Lands Conservative and The Friends of Plant Conservation for North Carolina. Jean is a frequent speaker on native plants as well as a hike leader.