Our Staff (work page)

Rani Dorman – Gardening Director and Horticultural 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 – Gardener

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.





Dan Wenger – Gardener

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.





Leanna Ross Marans – Gardener

Leanna graduated from Smith College where she studied Environmental Science and Policy. Her focus on sustainable design and minor in Landscape Studies inspired her to explore the different types of green spaces throughout New York City. Leanna has experience in not only agriculture from working at Gotham Greens hydroponic rooftop farm in Greenpoint, but also horticulture from an internship at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Currently studying for a certificate in horticulture, her goal is to encourage urban sustainability through designing public green spaces.





Katy Lardaro – Gardener

Katy hails from the suburbs of NYC and graduated from Brown University with a degree in Psychology and Spanish. While pursuing her degree, she volunteered with the Nature Conservancy on Block Island, extracting invasive species and maintaining preserved lands as well as Farm Fresh Rhode Island, helping distribute healthy local produce throughout little Rhody. She is passionate about keeping New York City green and creating beautiful gardens and natural spaces for it’s residents.






Bix Windbiel – Gardener

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!





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.



Sandi Simon – Operations Manager

Sandi has reentered the workforce after being a mom for several years. Prior to that she was a Pre-K teachers and Camp Director. Sandi works more on the organizational and office manager side of BUDS, but sometimes you may see him on site. She is excited to join the BUDS team!






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.  

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