Andrea Berry, Executive Director
Andrea joined Wild Seed Project as the organization’s Executive Director in 2021 bringing extensive nonprofit leadership experience and a passion for decolonization and climate justice. For the six years prior to this role, Andrea worked as the Director of Community Engagement at Maine Initiatives, a small community-based foundation working to advance racial justice and equity. A community organizer at heart, Andrea has spent her career working to build social movements around racial justice, gender equity, equal access to education, and climate justice. Andrea serves on the Board of Directors at Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative and Resources for Organizing & Social Change, and serves on the Select Board for the town of North Yarmouth where she is leading community-driven efforts around land conservation and environmental stewardship. At home, Andrea gardens to supply her roadside farm stand and bakes wood-fired pizza in her homemade outdoor clay oven. She lives in North Yarmouth with her partner, their middle-school-aged daughter, two dogs, and four chickens.

Emily Baisden, Seed Center Director
Prior to joining Wild Seed Project in 2022, Emily served as Entomologist and Educator at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. She has an extensive background in native horticulture and environmental education, and focuses largely on using native plants to support food webs and biodiversity. She holds a BS in Environmental Science from the University of New England and an MS in Entomology from the University of Delaware. She is an avid birder and has a lifelong goal of being able to identify all the flora and fauna in Maine. She lives in Brunswick, where she spends most of her time adventuring with her partner and their dog, and establishing wildlife habitat in her yard.

Al Cleveland, Director of Development
Over the last five years, Al has been fundraising and organizing for environmental and social justice movements in Maine. With dedication to building climate resilience, Al was the previous Director of Our Power which leads Maine’s public power advocacy. Previously, Al worked as Director of Maine Youth Justice to support young people impacted by the criminal legal system. In their spare time, you can find Al making beeswax candles or roller-skating with their dog.

Rachel Getz, E-Commerce Manager
Rachel joined Wild Seed Project in 2023 following seven years of experience in the culinary industry. She honed her cooking skills at Fore Street restaurant in Portland and worked a variety of production, marketing and design roles for Maine Crisp, a small food business dedicated to crafting products using Maine-grown buckwheat. She currently lives in Portland with her partner and spends her time hiking, cooking, gardening, and exploring Maine.

Jess Gildea, Director of Community Engagement
Joining Wild Seed Project in 2022, Jess brings over twelve years of experience designing high impact, community-led programs and partnerships in nonprofit spaces. As the Youth & Family Initiatives Manager at Good Shepherd Food Bank, she worked alongside over 400 schools and colleges statewide to increase food access for Maine families. In 2020, she created the Community Redistribution Fund at GSFB, a community-led grantmaking program focused on increasing access to culturally important foods through grassroots efforts. Prior to moving to Maine, she served as the Curator of Education for the Neuberger Museum of Art at SUNY Purchase College, and has worked in a range of programmatic capacities in nonprofit art spaces in the greater New York City area. Jess currently serves on the Board of Directors for Birth Roots, and lives in Westbrook with her wife and their young child, where they spend as much time as possible outdoors, in all seasons, hiking and exploring the coast.

Claire Healey, Seasonal Shop Support
Claire joined Wild Seed Project in October of 2023 after completing her first farming season at a small, organic vegetable farm in Cape Elizabeth. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Between semesters at UConn, she worked as a field technician, first studying the foraging behavior of native queen bumblebees in Yosemite National Park and later exploring plant-pollinator interactions in the Madrean Sky Islands of Arizona and New Mexico. She lives in Scarborough with her partner and can be found growing native plants in her backyard garden during the summer and surfing the cold waves of Saco Bay in the winter.

Nell Houde, Manager of Educational Programs
Before joining Wild Seed Project in the summer of 2022, Nell was working in the world of environmental and outdoor education in Maine — as an Island Fellow on Peaks Island establishing an edible schoolyard, as the Outdoor Educator at St. George Elementary School, as a Naturalist in the AMC High Mountain Huts, and as the Garden Educator at the Reiche Elementary School in Portland. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Bates College. She brings dedication to climate justice to her work doing experiential ecology with young people. As part of this role she is part of the Nature Based Education Consortium’s Climate Education Advocacy Working Group and Maine Youth for Climate Justice’s Food Sovereignty Cohort. She calls Maine home, and can be found exploring its woods by foot, its roads by bike, and its waters by boat (or sometimes, in a wetsuit).

Caitlin Marshall, Communications Coordinator
Caitlin joined Wild Seed Project in 2024. Following a career through local foods marketing and solar installations, Caitlin is presently pursuing a degree in Environmental Science & Climate Change at Unity College. She lives in Portland, where she enjoys cooking with her two kids, taking big walks, and watching all the flying, hopping and crawling creatures that visit the garden.

Tyler Refsland, Manager of Applied Ecology
Joining WSP in 2023, Tyler has an extensive background in plant ecology, forest management, and climate change. He holds a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he studied how management practices influence the drought resilience and carbon storing capacity of oak-hickory woodlands. Prior to his role at WSP, Tyler was a postdoctoral researcher at Michigan State University, working in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service and Wisconsin DNR to develop seed collection and planting strategies to promote climate resilient forests in the Great Lakes region. He lives in Windham with his partner, their toddler son, and dog Harriet. On the weekends, Tyler enjoys hiking, woodworking, and slowly converting his lawn to native meadow.

Maura SanchiRetail & Nursery Coordinator
Maura joined Wild Seed Project in 2023 following the completion of a fellowship program at the organization. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2022 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and completed a graduate certificate in Emerging Women’s Leadership at UConn in 2023. As an undergraduate she lived and worked at Spring Valley Student Farm, a student-led vegetable farm, where she helped grow food for the dining halls. There she gained an appreciation for the native plants that took over empty fields while they lay fallow during the early stages of the pandemic. As a new Maine resident she loves exploring the gorgeous beaches and local trails and appreciating the new environment.

Tessa Shanteler, Seasonal Shop Support
Tessa graduated from the University of Maine, Orono with a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Ecology and Environmental Science, and currently is a farmer, a co-chair of the Stories for Change Working Group with the Nature Based Education Consortium, and on the Programming Staff at the Wilson Center in Orono. Tessa enjoys cuddling up with her cats, reading a book, making jewelry and getting outdoors as often as possible!

Board of Directors
Erin Clancy, President, is an independent consultant and activist who helps non- and for-profit enterprises articulate and achieve their strategic and business plans, and maximize their social impact. She draws upon more than 20 years of executive experience in early stage and start-up technology ventures, and leadership of small non-profit enterprises. Erin works to motivate people and companies to take positive actions to reduce our collective environmental impact, and to develop solutions for our urgent environmental problems. Early adventures in the great wildernesses of the Everglades and the coast of Maine imprinted upon her a sense of wonder and an awareness of their fragility, and eventually led her to work in environmental advocacy, most recently as Conservation Director for the Tropical Audubon Society. She is fortunate to split her time between South Florida and Maine.

Lily Collins is a WSP volunteer with a background in regenerative agriculture and conservation works. She has a strong interest in systems and efficiency and is very passionate about the mission of WSP.

Greg Field, Ph.D., is currently the Director of Finance and Operations at the Maine Island Trail Association. In previous positions, Greg has served in Finance and Operations for other small Maine non-profits. He has served on numerous boards, most recently as Board Treasurer, then Board President at Maine Initiatives. Through his work at MITA he has learned firsthand about the spread of invasive species along Maine’s coast. Greg is an avid vegetable gardener and with guidance from his wife Ginny, he is discovering ways in which to restore native plants and habitat at their home in Yarmouth.

Abby Johnston is a serial entrepreneur with a deep passion for the creative process, community building, and growing gardens for food, medicine and pleasure. Currently, she is the owner of an independent, herb-inspired wellness shop that she runs while she trains to be a community herbalist, with a focus on the cultivation and use of native plant species. When Abby is not eating, creating, or formulating with the wild world of plants, you will find her organizing community cleanups, playing out on Casco Bay or exploring New England on her road bike.

After a successful career in biotech, Mary Ellen Lamay decided to pursue her love of plants and a Masters in Environmental Management from the Yale School of The Environment, and is a Connecticut DEEP Certified Master Wildlife Conservationist. In her current work as Director of Landowner Engagement for a regional Land Trust in Connecticut, and as a regional leader for the Pollinator Pathway and Green Corridor projects, Mary Ellen has put WSP principles into practice in her work. 

Ellie Libby is an educator, musician and horticulturist. After twenty five years working in youth education and program development, she retired to pursue her passion for plants. In 2017, she received a certificate of merit in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture from Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. She currently works part time at a local nursery and helps a few clients with their gardens. She is also working on invasive plant removal and native species replacement on her 40 acres in Waldoboro, Maine. 

Heather McCargo, MA, Founder

Heather founded Wild Seed Project in 2014 and served as Executive Director from 2014 to 2021. She now focuses her work on expanding our native seed collection and propagation center.

Heather is an educator with 30 years’ experience in plant propagation, landscape design, horticulture, and conservation. A former head plant propagator at the New England Wild Flower Society’s (now Native Plant Trust) Garden in the Woods during the 1990s, Heather has also worked at several landscape architecture/planning firms specializing in ecological design, and has contributed to research projects with USAID, the National Gardening Association, and MOFGA. She has lectured nationally and is widely published in journals and magazines such as Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s “Growing from Seed,” Horticulture, American Nurseryman, Ecological Landscape Alliance, and many others. Heather designed the master plan for the medicinal gardens at Avena Botanicals in Rockport and was the creator of the Bay School Agricultural Arts program in Blue Hill. Heather has a BA in plant ecology from Hampshire College and an MA from the Conway School of Landscape Design.

David Messinger, Treasurer, grew up in New Jersey, where a high school job at a nursery sparked a fascination with plants and gardening.  Since then, he has been employed in Naval Engineering, Mathematics Education, Information Technology, and finally, as an actuary with Sunlife.  Balancing out his largely technical career path, he lives in North Yarmouth, Maine on his 1.6 acre “test orchard” where he experiments with fruits, berries, and perennials to try to create a diverse, productive, and beautiful landscape for his family.  In the past 2 years, he has been learning from the Wild Seed Project about how we can better steward the gene pools of our native plants (and the ecosystems that rely on them) by growing and planting for genetic diversity, and is currently a volunteer with the 2022 Seed Core class.

Maggie Perkins  has worked for many local nonprofits as a Marketing and Communications professional, including the Portland Museum of Art and Greater Portland Landmarks. She currently works as a Project Manager for Green & Healthy Maine HOMES magazine. While she is a novice gardener, Maggie is excited to apply the lessons of Wild Seed Project to her first home garden and share what she’s learned with friends and family. She wants to spread the word that incorporating native plants into yards, decks, front stoops or fire escapes is an easy way to help in the fight against climate change.

Michelle Smith began working with Wild Seed Project as a volunteer editor and is excited to become more involved as a board member. She is a freelance communications professional and has managed communications and marketing for several Maine nonprofits. She has a BA in English and Environmental Studies and an MA in American Studies. She has a lifelong interest in plants, herbal medicine, and gardening. She lives in Portland, Maine, with her husband and two children, where they are working to transform their lawn to a native plant garden.

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