Gardening at USask Instructors

Alan Weninger Arborist for Patterson Gardens, USask

Alan is passionate about botany and the cultivation of woody plants. He is an ISA Certified Arborist with a Bachelor of Science degree from the U of S and a Horticulturist Certificate from the University of Guelph. Since 2006 Alan has worked as a gardener and arborist for the Department of Plant Sciences at the Horticulture Field Facility and Patterson Arboretum, one of his favourite places. He has also grown trees as a hobby for many years and maintains a diverse collection near Saskatoon.


Dr. Barry Brown Emeritus Professor

Dr. F. Barry Brown is Professor Emeritus and former Head of the Departments of Curriculum Studies and Educational Communications and Technology in the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan. Barry began beekeeping as a hobby in 1973 with two hives. After retirement he scaled up to a commercial level operation. He currently is operating about 1000 beehives situated near Langham and Borden. He enjoys teaching and mentoring new beekeepers.


Beth Bentz Artist

Beth Bentz is an artist with no desire to get stuck in doing the same thing all the time. Every painting she creates is an adventure so she finds herself looking and seeing colour in different ways every day. There is never any half measures - she jumps in with both feet, throwing caution to the wind and always looking “outside the box” for inspiration. That being said – she has invested in her art education and has learned the “rules of art” but simply chooses to break them when it suits her purposes. Never loyal to any specific medium, she freely admits watercolor is her favourite.


Chet Neufeld Executive Director, Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan

Chet Neufeld is the Executive Director of the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan. He works on a variety of projects including teaching workshops across the province and is a contributor to Gardener for the Prairies magazine.


Dr. Grant Wood Assistant Professor

Grant’s passion is with urban agriculture, which includes small-scale food production, and local food security. Grant developed Plant Science 235 – Urban Agriculture, which draws almost 100 students per year from across campus. This course helps students learn how to grow food within city limits, both from a domestic and commercial basis. Grant is very involved in the local urban food movement, and can often be found promoting local food production to a wide variety of audiences. Grant’s work has been recognized locally, provincially and nationally, and he has received university awards in teaching, plus outreach and engagement.


Helen Shook Gardenline Specialist

This is Helen’s third year working at the USask Gardenline, answering questions from the public and writing articles for the website and social media. She is a Master Gardener and holds her Prairie Horticulture Certificate from the University of Saskatchewan. Helen gardens at her home in Saskatoon with help from husband Kevin who does much of the heavy lifting and her dog Susie who gleefully helps with harvest.


Jackie Bantle AgBio Greenhouse and Hort Field Plots Manager

Jackie Bantle BEd, BSA (Horticulture major) has been working in horticulture at the University of Saskatchewan for the last 26 years. With 15 years of vegetable research experience and 10 years managing the USask Agriculture Greenhouse, Jackie loves to share her broad horticulture knowledge and experiences with anyone who will listen but more importantly, she acknowledges that she gains much more from listening to her students and other horticulturists than what she is able to provide.


Karen Hunter Artist and Master Gardener

Karen Hunter renders her botanical art with colored pencils and dabbles in pen and ink. Karen’s weekly journaling started with words and has evolved into sketches. A volunteer at heart, a fond memory was volunteering at the Desert Botanical Garden’s art installation “The Sonoran Light” by artist Bruce Munro out of the UK. The team ran thousands of feet of fibre optic cable among saguaro, prickly pear and cholla – the cacti of the desert. It would be impossible for her to explain the feeling that first night; the stillness of the desert and the glow of 30,000 bulbs glowing in the dusk of the garden.


Lisa Howse Compost Education Coordinator, SWRC

Lisa Howse is the Compost Education Coordinator with the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council (SWRC), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and organizations make less garbage. The SWRC also coordinates the Saskatoon Compost Coaches on behalf of the City of Saskatoon. Lisa is passionate about reducing waste, protecting the environment and building healthy soil.


Lyndon Penner Author, Naturalist and Radio Personality

Lyndon Penner grew up in Saskatchewan and began gardening at a very young age. He began working in the nursery industry at the age of 16 and at 20 he began instructing horticultural classes. Now an independent landscape consultant and garden designer, Lyndon has been much in demand as a guest speaker for gardening groups and societies and has lectured at the U. of S., UBC, Olds College, and the Calgary Zoo Botanic Garden. He has written for many gardening publications as well as three best-selling books about gardening in a short growing season. You may also have heard him talking about gardening on CBC radio. When not busy in his own garden or someone else's, Lyndon works as a botanical interpreter in Waterton Lakes National Park and as a tour guide at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge.


M. P. M. Nair Orchidist and Plant Breeder

M. P. M. Nair is an orchidist with more than 40 years of growing and conducting orchid seminars, including teaching experience in India and Australia. At one time he had over 4,000 plants in his specially designed Saskatoon home. He is also an epicurist with a taste for flavorful food. Nair began to make truly traditional vegetarian south Indian (Kerala) food over 60 years ago in India, and cooking has remained his passion since. Since then, he’s traveled around the world 7 times, expanding his culinary expertise along the way.


Nina Mohr Department of Biology, USask

Nina A. Mohr completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Entomology at the University of Manitoba. She’s also conducted research at the University of Guelph before coming to the University of Saskatchewan, way, way back in 1996. She has broad experience in pollination biology, insect behaviour, plant science and pesticides. She always looks forward to meeting new students and enjoys the exchange of information.


Sara Williams Author and Retired USask horticulturist

Retired as the horticultural specialist of the University of Saskatchewan, Sara Williams is author and co-author of many gardening books: Creating the Prairie Xeriscape; Best Trees and Shrubs for the Prairies; Best Groundcovers and Vines for the Prairies; Gardening, Naturally: A Chemical-free handbook for the Prairies and The Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo: A Photographic History. She also was founding editor for The Saskatchewan Gardener magazine (now known as The Gardener or, previously, Gardener for the Prairies). Sara holds a B.A from the University of Michigan in English and History as well as a B.Sc. (with great distinction) and M.Sc. from the University of Saskatchewan in Horticulture. She rec’d an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2015 and was inducted into the Saskatchewan Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2013. She helped initiate the University of Saskatchewan Master Gardener Program and coordinated it for many years. She gardens on 5 acres of sand near Saskatoon.


Vanessa Young Instructor and Gardening at USask Coordinator

Vanessa Young is part of the team that makes the Gardening at USask Programs outreach education programs successful. With degrees in Science and in Education and background in business and communications, she is well suited for her position. In addition to her outreach education work and non-credit teaching, she also teaches for the U of S Prairie Horticulture Certificate Program and manages various agronomy professional development programs. In her spare time Vanessa also freelance development work, hort therapy and attempts to manage a very messy house under nearly constant construction.


William Hrycan Landscape Architect, Crosby Hanna and Associates

William Hrycan is a landscape architect in Saskatoon, and the Horticultural Editor for The Gardener. He is also a garden photographer, devoted dad, and self-confessed gardening addict who gardens wherever and whenever he can.