Our Staff


Rani Dorman – Director and Design Specialist

Rani (RAH nee) grew up in Manhattan, but spent every summer upstate, immersed in nature. She later earned a degree in social work from New York University, and continued to be impressed with the healing power of plants.

In 2004, while her children were attending PS 199 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Rani set out to revive the school’s long-lost garden. In addition to bringing the garden back to life, she established a gardening club in which she taught students and supervised a team of parent volunteers. Now 10 years later, the program at PS 199 continues to thrive.

During the nine years she spent at PS 199, Rani learned all she could about horticulture—voraciously reading every landscaping book she could find as well as attending numerous classes at the New York Botanical Garden. She became the go-to plant expert among her friends and family who always encouraged her to put her talent, knowledge and passion into an official business. Finally, in March of 2011, BUDS was born.

Seth Dorman – Site Coordinator; Gardener

Seth has gone from Dartmouth’s Big Green in the Ivy League to planting ivy in the Big Apple. Seth both coordinates the transportation and provides the required heavy lifting for all plants and gardening supplies. Specializing in laying the irrigation, he ensures that no plant goes thirsty. When not working with BUDS, Seth continues to search for ways make life less mean and more green.

 

 

 

 

Chris Kelly – Design Coordinator

Chris is a native Manhattanite with a passion for restoring and appreciating our natural environment. He joined the BUDS team after graduating from NYU with a B.A. in Urban Planning and Architecture. Planning to continue his education of sustainable design practices, Chris contributes his design expertise to the creative process of BUDS gardens. His enthusiasm for plants and respect for those who grow them inspire his efforts to green our city one botanical masterpiece at a time.

 

 

 

Trey Hahn – Business Optimization Coordinator

Trey has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from The New School where he focused on Urban Planning & Design. Having worked previously with city government, a business improvement district, and varying nonprofits, he is excited to dive into the day-to-day operations and planning of a small business. Trey loves to explore the city’s endless parks and neighborhoods, and while he’s originally from San Diego, CA, Queens has become his adopted home. Trey works more on the organizational side of BUDS, but sometimes you may see him on site.

Claire Rosenberg – Garden Designer

While growing up in the suburbs of New York, Claire took many trips to visit her grandparents in Vermont where her infatuation with the natural world first bloomed. She recently graduated from Boston University with a BA in philosophy, a minor in environmental science, and spent a semester in Copenhagen studying organic agriculture. In her free time Claire loves to draw and paint the landscapes around her. She is excited to work for BUDS and combine her passions for art, agriculture, and the environment. 

 

 

Our Gardeners!

Dan Wenger 

Following an internship with the Parks Department at the Heather Garden in Fort Tryon Park, Dan brought his creative vision to the BUDS team. He graduated from Ithaca College with a B.A. in Music with a minor in Environmental Studies. While planning and installing plants arrangements, Dan enjoys the therapeutic qualities of weeding. He is pursuing a career in sustainable design and loves to plays swing jazz on the trombone.

 

 

Bix Windbiel 

From the organic farm at the Evergreen State College to your rooftop garden, Bix is committed to making plants grow. He spent time working in construction and arboring as a safety specialist and foreman, and is now delighted to return to his gardening roots with BUDS. Bix is the resident demolition man and the only thing he likes more than taking out an old tree, piece by piece, is planting a new one in its place. In his spare time, Bix dabbles in the theatre art, and you should probably talk to him about those Mets!

 

 

 

 

Stephen Hanrahan 

After completing an AmeriCorp term with the New York Restoration Project, Stephen is excited to be joining the team at BUDS. He brings a commitment to improving green spaces in New York and making it a more enjoyable and sustainable place to live.  Born and raised on the upper west side, he graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a B.A. in history.  In his free time Stephen enjoys swimming, music, and will happily discuss anything related to food. 

                                                    

                                                                             

Holden Better 

Holden is a native New Yorker with a love of plants and nature inspired by a childhood spent  exploring the woods of Inwood Hill Park. He graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a BFA in illustration and is pursing an advanced degree in horticulture and landscape design. Working with BUDS brings his passions of art and science together. Holden enjoys the process of arranging plants like a puzzle and seeing a project go from a truckload of plants to a stunning garden. He has never encountered a knot that he couldn’t untangle.  When not working with BUDS, he works freelance as a painter and illustrator.                

                                           

Sasha Kourako 

Sasha’s interest in gardening began at an early age in a rural village outside Moscow helping his grandmother plant, harvest, and tend to her bees. An education in gymnastics led to touring with Cirque du Soleil as an aerialist before moving to New York and working as a personal trainer. Sasha has spent many happy summers working on a friend’s organic farm, nestled in a glorious pine forest, picking, gathering, weeding and digging rain or shine. In his spare time, he writes and illustrates stories for children. Sasha is very excited about returning to the earth working for the team of BUDS.  

Michael Thompson 

After a 25 year career in video post-production, Michael tired of the office environment and longed to be outdoors. He returns for his second year with BUDS assisting in the nursery procurement and transportation, in addition to design and general gardening. “I love turning this hectic urban jungle that we call home into a more soothing and beautiful environment, one garden at a time.” When not getting his hands dirty he can be found tearing up tennis courts throughout the city.

 

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