Board of Directors and Staff

Here at Unity Gardens, we are so proud of (and grateful for) our history of having truly amazing, dedicated board members volunteering their time and talents to help us accomplish our mission of improving and strengthening communities across Anne Arundel County through the support of sustainable greening projects.  Our board members bring a variety of personal passions and professional backgrounds to the table, and we invite you to take a few moments to learn more about them below. If you are interested in offering your services as a board member or volunteer, please contact us!

2024 Board of Directors

Katie Foster (she/her) has called Maryland home for most of her life and developed her love for native plants and engaging communities in recent years. She hopes to empower community members of all ages to embrace the beauty and benefits of native plants in their local landscapes. Katie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Communication from Stevenson University, and her work experience ranges from retail management to nonprofit communications and fundraising. Her passion for learning and knack for adding “one more thing” to her life led her to become a Master Gardener Intern in fall 2021. Katie lives in Crofton with her husband, toddler, pit bull, and many unfinished craft and furniture projects. In her spare time, you can find her roaming the local library, exploring local parks with her family, or trying to incorporate more native plants into her postage-stamp-sized yard.

Meenal Harankhedkar I am very passionate about connecting people with plants and I have an innate desire to continue learning about the diversity of plants and their interactions within native habitats. My expertise in horticulture and botany comes from working at Public Gardens like, Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden (CA), Quarryhill Botanical Garden (CA) and, my current position as the Director of Horticulture at Historic London Town and Gardens (MD). I have two Masters Degrees one in Botany from University of Mumbai and one in Horticulture from Kansas State University. At Kansas State University, my research focused on weed ecology and Turf grass management, but the classes I took in designing of parks and recreational areas and landscape design, drew me to Public gardens and they have been one of the best platforms for me to connect people with plants. Most importantly, I like teaching young adults and children to draw their attention to the diversity of the plant world. I have thoroughly enjoyed designing education programs and garden workshop for children K-5 at Montessori schools and University of Akron. Plant diversity, sustainable landscape design, weed ecology and, ex-situ conservation are few of the subjects I am extremely passionate about, and I absolutely enjoy utilizing all mediums of outreach to connect these subjects with people of all ages . On my spare time, I enjoy going on nature walks with my family and exploring different habitats. The Mid-Atlantic continues to fascinate me, and I am always eager to explore new landscapes inland or by the bay.

Stuart Lehman, a local Marylander, grew up in Calvert County along the shores of the Bay before moving to the Annapolis area.  He studied biology and environmental sciences at McDaniel College and George Washington University.  Most of his career has been obtaining, managing, and overseeing watershed  grants for environmental agencies – most recently with the US EPA. Stu moved with his family to work for 5 years on river pollution problems in Montana.  The whole family, he says, was “enchanted by the state and the friends we made there” but he and his spouse Martha were ultimately drawn back to be with family, to life in Annapolis, and to the beauty of the Bay.  Since returning to his career in Maryland, Stu has also played on a local baseball team, monitored water quality with the Spa Creek Conservancy, and taken up oil painting.  Stu is interested in nature’s sacred places and how to maintain and create them.

Pat Mitchell is a midwestern transplant, but a long time Annapolitan and Bay-Wise gardener. She  is a retired law librarian who enjoys  Master Gardener projects, crafts, reading, travel and  learning about our local ecology and sustainable agriculture.  Pat especially enjoys kayaking and boating on the Bay with her husband, Geoff.  She believes that the Unity Gardens mission of empowering communities to improve their environment with native plants is a positive force in the community.  Each individual really can make a difference by landscaping wisely and working together, and can achieve deep and visible results for our Chesapeake Bay environment.

Lara Mulvaney has been a strong advocate for Maryland native plants and stormwater mitigation since learning about those topics in 2009, when completing certification as a Anne Arundel County Master Watershed Steward.  Having moved to Maryland in 2008, to a property with a South River stream in her backyard, Lara learned in her own living classroom about ways to use plants to manage stormwater runoff and how they attract more wildlife.  Since 2010, Lara has volunteered to help her individual neighbors, HOA and the broader community with numerous site assessments, rainbarrels, tree plantings, raingarden and conservation landscaping projects.  Lara holds a degree in Physics from the University of Rochester and retired from the US Navy as a Meteorology and Oceanography officer.  She is currently working as a geographic information systems (GIS) analyst on stormwater data for municipalities and counties.  When she is not maintaining in her own Bay Wise gardens, you might find her fighting invasive plants as an Anne Arundel County Weed Warrior, walking her 3 dogs, paddle boarding or trying to figure out the next place to shrink the lawn.

Karen Royer has lived in Maryland all her life, graduating from Severna Park High School, Goucher College and Johns Hopkins University, and working as a systems engineer at Westinghouse and GE Space Division.  Despite being “locally sourced,” Karen wasn’t aware of the importance of native plants until volunteering with the gardening committee at Woods Church and helping them to become Bay-wise Certified in 2017.  Her interest in native plants grew exponentially when she worked with Master Gardener Alison Milligan to help Woods Church secure a Unity Gardens grant to introduce native plants into the church campus for pollinator support and for stormwater control.  Karen loves the work of Unity Gardens and looks forward to spreading the joy of restoring nature through their many community-based projects involving native plants.

Pat Morrison ….more information coming soon!

Tammy Fawcett….more information coming soon!


Ratasha Harley is a long time gardener and nature lover. She was first introduced to Unity Gardens through a grant opportunity and is a Fall 2022 recipient of a Unity Gardens grant to install native pollinators in the Bywater Community Garden, where she resides. Originally from Hawai’i, she moved to Maryland to attend John Hopkins University, and now lives in Annapolis with her husband and four children. As a passionate advocate for children and education, she is excited to bring her community advocacy and professional experience to Unity Gardens as the Executive Director.