BQLT Staff, Board, and Committees

STAFF

Domica Roberts

Program Manager

Domica Roberts joined BQLT as Program Associate in 2017, after interning with BQLT in 2016. She has held the Full Time Program Manager position since 2022. In this position, she works to ensure efficient BQLT operations and administrative systems. She works closely with the BQLT Board of Directors to connect with our multiple stakeholders (i.e. gardeners, project partners, funders, contractors, etc.). She implements several programs and manages administrative responsibilities for the organization. Out in the field, she is trained to do the biannual water system  turn-ons in spring and turn-offs in fall at our gardens with DEP water systems. Domica completed a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Design at the City College of New York (CUNY) in May 2020. Domica has always loved gardening and learned about food justice and advocacy, as well as how to grow her own food, through a youth program at East New York Farms.

Marina Carlstroem

Administrative Assistant

Marina started in the Administrative Assistant (PT) position in February 2023, after partnering with BQLT during the summer of 2022 as a New York University Gallatin Global Fellow in Urban Practice where she conducted research on community cohesion in garden spaces. She now supports BQLT with daily office operations like filing and outreach, as well as garden-focused projects including our annual monitoring surveys and our LTA Accreditation process. Marina graduated from NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study in May 2022 with a concentration in Politics, Performance and the Built Environment. She hails from Berkeley, California where her environmental educator parents fostered her love for the natural world very young.  In addition to her work with BQLT, Marina is a theatrical director who has recently directed plays at The Tank, Soho Playhouse and HERE Arts Center.


BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Steven Thomson

Board President (2021 )
Gardener Board Member (2018 24)

Steven Thomson is a member of the 1100 Block Bergen Street Garden in Crown Heights and serves as Director of Thought Leadership for the Central Park Conservancy. He’s devoted his career to developing public engagement programming and communications advocating for equitable public space, climate change preparedness, and mental health access, while working for organizations including Brooklyn Historical Society and Van Alen Institute. He holds a graduate degree in urban studies from University College London, where his research focused on the intersection of gentrification, art, and activism.

Racquel Forrester

Board Vice President (2023 )
Gardener Board Member (2020 24)

Racquel Forrester is an urban planner and non-profit professional. In her work, Racquel elevates NYU’s scholarly strength by fostering collaboration and cultivating a community of urbanists. A Brooklyn native, Racquel spent the last 9 years advocating for low income New Yorkers. She’s implemented economic development programs that worked to preserve job-intensive land uses and provide career pathways in tech to young adults. She has organized resilience initiatives post Hurricane Sandy in Brooklyn’s waterfront communities, with research published in “Prospects for Resilience: Insights from New York City’s Jamaica Bay.” Additionally, Racquel consults with nonprofits, aiding organizations on maximizing their impact, achieving their mission and training front line staff. Racquel has a Bachelor’s from Rutgers University and a Master’s in Urban Planning from Hunter College. She recently completed Columbia University’s Executive Education Program for Developing Leaders in nonprofits. She is a garden member at Heaven's Gate Garden.

Curtis Flowers

Board Secretary (2023 –  )
Gardener Board Member (2020 24)

Curtis Flowers is a writer and editor who works in educational publishing. He tends to his plants  at the Rogers Tilden Veronica Garden in Flatbush, Brooklyn. He’s interested in building camaraderie and working with others to make community gardens inviting and welcoming places where all New Yorkers can relax when they want to trade the chaotic pace of the city for surroundings with an abundance of the natural world to look at and learn from. He thinks the more we know about the living things around us, the more likely we are to care for and about them.

Giselle King

Board Treasurer (2022 )
Gardener Board Member (2021 25)

Giselle King, is a Trinidadian-American living and working in New York.  She is a dynamic actor and professional speaker, dedicated to representing diverse voices through her creative and community-based work. She is a gardener in the Central Bainbridge St. Community Garden. Giselle has a passion for projects that combine her knowledge and skills in health and the creative arts which are gleaned from her years of practicing the martial art-dance form of Capoeira alongside her work as a certified physical massage therapist. Giselle is one of fewer than 100 female firefighters in the 15,000+ strong Fire Department of New York. Giselle graduated near the top of her Fire Academy class.


Gabriella Chinea

Resource Board Member (2023 25)

Gabby lives in Astoria and is passionate about protecting green space, bringing people together, and allocating resources to those who need it.  She works as a Project Coordinator for Central Park Conservancy, where she's learned the power and importance of preservation, sustainability, and creating the best environment for the people of NYC.  Gabby hopes to use her experience and skill set to protect and enhance BQLT gardens and the communities they serve.  She is a member of the Communications, Property Management, and Nominations committees.  Gabby wants to pursue a career in city planning and is hoping to start her Masters in the fall.

Alonso Córdoba

Resource Board Member (2020 24)

Alonso Córdoba is an educator and a biologist who is a member of Q-Gardens Community Farm, in Flatbush, Brooklyn. He is an adjunct lecturer of biology at CUNY-Brooklyn College, where he has done research in the ecology of soil bacteria. This experience sparked an interest in composting, which in turn inspired him to join Q-Gardens and BQLT, and to collaborate with the NYC Urban Soils Institute. Alonso has seen the potential of community gardens to be a vehicle of scientific, especially environmental education, and community building, both of which are critical to achieve advancements in social justice and food security. His affiliation to BQLT is inspired by this principle, which will continue to guide his efforts in the future.


Ashley Cruce

Garden Board Member (2021 25)

Since 2014, Ashley Cruce has worked at Queens Botanical Garden as an Environmental Educator. She loves working with people of all ages, cultures, and abilities to promote gardening, composting, and connection to nature in urban Queens.  She has served as a Community Garden Consultant at Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement House at Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City (2012-19, 2021-22). Ashley has been a BQLT garden member at McIntosh Neighborhood Assn. Garden since 2011, and served on the BQLT Board from 2013-15. As an experienced gardener, educator, Master Composter and Citizen Pruner, she volunteers her time with local youth Green Teams, with JH-SCRAPS (a local community compost site), with her co-op's garden committee, and as a beekeeper's helper at the QBG Bee Garden. She is the Co-Chair of the Tree Committee and serves on 3 BQLT Committees (Communications, Grants & Operations).

Kate Gehring

Gardener Board Member (2021 25)

Kate believes deeply in the BQLT’s mission, and in its gardens and gardeners.  She hopes to use her own experience as a lawyer, journalist, organizer - and garden member - to support the BQLT and its gardens as places of connection, equity, and joy. She is especially interested in how gardens can adapt to neighborhood changes while supporting founding communities and older residents, and can foster engagement and friendship among gardeners.  They are doing this at the Greene Garden, where she is a member -- nurturing the garden and its community with the aim of being inclusive, diverse, and welcoming.


Damond Haynes

Gardener Board Member (2023 25)

Damond Haynes (he/him) is a Brooklyn-based educator and facilitator focusing on inclusion, inter-generational community building, and youth development. For the past 15 years he's worked with nonprofits and local government agencies to provide impactful direct service to their clients and staff of all levels and demographics. Before he began focusing on workshop facilitation, Damond was an Event/Program Coordinator for The New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Damond is a proud member of Rogers Tilden Veronica (RTV) community garden and Bountiful Bill Garden in Brooklyn. His intention is to use his experience to assist in carrying out BQLT's mission and to make meaningful community connections via our collective commitment to growing, gathering, and fun.

Suzanne Hurley

Gardener Board Member (2021 25)

Suzanne Hurley grew up in Brooklyn, New York as part of a close-knit nuclear family. Attended Prospect Heights High School and Brooklyn College, graduated with a BA in Psychology. Suzanne’s love of Brooklyn and her Crown Heights community led to her involvement and leadership in several community organizations. However, she is most proud of being part of the initial group of children who worked in the 1100 Block Bergen Street Garden starting in 1980.

Suzanne’s work as a Vice President in the non-profit industry focuses on community building with Adult Literacy and Youth Enrichment Programs. Her love of gardening which she credits to her grandmother and mother remains foremost as she engages youth to develop eco-gardens in Harlem. In 2019 she spearheaded teams in planting flowers in 30 tree-wells on 125th street. The project brought joy to community members including the Borough President. As a board member of Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, Suzanne continues her mission of service in the community to ensure the conservation and preservation of open space, local heritage and culture.


Sandra Watanabe

Gardener Board Member (2022 24)

Sandra loves community gardening and its ability to unite diverse communities and further efforts concerning conservation, stewardship, and sustainability. She has been an active community gardener at BQLT’s Hollenback Community Garden as well as two other Brooklyn gardens for many years. As Chair of Grants and an Operations Committee member, she has worked to raise funds for and collaborated on several BQLT garden infrastructure projects and workshops. She became a Master Composter through the NYC Compost Project, completed the BQLT Citizen Pruner course partnered with Trees New York, and serves as a NYC Parks Super Steward: Care Captain. She currently works at Earth Matter New York as Zero Waste Island Coordinator and participates in their Heritage Bed Initiative representing Japan.

Jeanette Waters

Gardener Board Member (2023 25)

Jeanette is currently involved with Greene Garden. She has been working to improve and beautify the Garden with the help of community members. She has created numerous special events for the community and implemented structures for and with members that allow them to work in teams that hold their interest. She is always looking for creative ways and ideas to sustain the neighborhood garden in a welcoming environment so it will continue to strive. Jeanette is an independent artist. She serves as the makeup artist for the St. Paul Community Baptist Church, where she has taken a leading role on the production team for more than 15 MAAFA dramatizations. Currently a part of the INCARN Ministry, Jeanette is the resident makeup artist at Mount Pisgah Baptist Church, where she has worked on various projects/presentations. 


Matthew Zebroski

Gardener Board Member (2022 24)

Matt Zebroski has been an active BQLT garden member for ten years. He has been running the compost program at the St Marks Ave/Prospect Heights Community Garden for almost ten years and has become a co-ambassador for that garden with Patti Hagan. He loves plants, people, and NYC. He has lead multiple projects and written grants that helped fund many projects for the BQLT and Green Guerillas. Some examples include the new gazebo at Padre Plaza in the South Bronx and a new compost system/rainwater harvest system at St Marks Ave/Prospect Heights Community Garden, as well as a project to develop and renovate the John the Baptist Community Garden into an ADA compliant space that helps people with physical and mental disabilities. He is extremely motivated by projects that help make communities better.

"I'm very good at getting the right people together to create beautiful things in a focused and organized manner. I love the BQLT. This organization is the reason that I have been able to become the gardener and community activist that I am today."

EMERITUS BOARD MEMBERS


Demetrice Mills

Board Member Emeritus

Demetrice Mills is a Business Information System Specialist who retired from JPMorgan Chase after 25 years of service. A member of BQLT since 2006, he has served as BQLT Treasurer, Secretary, and Board President (20102014), and has chaired BQLT’s operations committee for over 11 years. Demetrice participated in the rewrite of BQLT’s bylaws, constitution, and garden license agreement. In addition, he has served on BQLT’s communications, events, finance, and grants committees. In addition to his work with BQLT, Demetrice is a member of the NYC Clean Soil Bank, Cornell University Cooperative Extension Healthy Soil Advisory Committee, and Land Trust Alliance Ambassador Committee, as well as a board member of the Land Trust Alliance New York Advisory Board and the American Community Gardening Association.

Irene Van Slyke

Board Member Emeritus

Irene Van Slyke is a longtime environmental advocate and supporter. Since joining BQLT, she has served as BQLT Treasurer, Secretary, Co-Chair of the Bylaws & Garden License Agreement Committee, and maintained active involvement with the Finance, Grants, Events and Operations committees. Irene is a Sierra Club NYC Executive Group Committee member. For the past 40 years, she has been an active member of BQLT’s David Foulke Memorial Garden. She loves growing vegetables in the summer. Irene has been an active member and gardener in the community she lives, and loyal member of BQLT since its inception.



COMMITTEES

Communications, chaired by Ashley Cruce
Events, chaired by Damond Haynes
Executive, chaired by Steven Thomson
Finance, chaired by Giselle King
Garden Operations, chaired by Alonso Cordoba
Grants, chaired by Sandra Watanabe
Nominations, chaired by Meg Fellerath
Property Management chaired by Racquel Forrester

To get involved, contact us:

Brooklyn Queens Land Trust
30 Third Avenue
Room 842
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(Located in the YWCA building)

718.963.7020

info@bqlt.org