Meet our Leaders

Sag Moraine is run entirely by volunteers; there are no paid staff. Sag Moraine thanks the individuals who volunteer their time, resources, and energy to serving our native plant community. 

Board of Directors

Catherine Bryla, President

Catherine, along with her late husband Jim, are the founders of Sag Moraine Native Plant Community.  She has a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology and ran her own personal training business for 25 years.  Catherine’s passion for the environment inspired her to use her entrepreneurial skills to form an organization that would both benefit the environment and provide an enjoyable experience for all involved.

Mary Gelder

Mary Gelder, Vice President

Mary holds degrees in Environmental Health Sciences, Telecommunications Systems, and Computer Engineering. A software developer for over 25 years, Mary serves the Sag Moraine Plant Community as Technical Director and Spatial Analyst. Native plants are central to Mary’s own home garden, adding color and texture to the landscape, attracting butterflies, and mitigating neighborhood floods during flash storms.

Donna McCash, Treasurer

Donna currently teaches English as a Second Language at the junior high school level. Before becoming a teacher, Donna had a successful 30-year career at the Social Security Administration. With over 35 years in the public sector, Donna has amassed a wide range of communication, organization, and problem-solving skills. Her educational status includes a BA in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Education. As an educator, Donna hopes to inspire future generations about environmentalism.

Michelle Sus

Michelle Bolander, Secretary

Michelle earned a Visual Communications Degree from Loyola University Chicago, before working in design, marketing, and user experience strategy consulting, across various industries. Her passion lies in uniting brilliant people to achieve lofty goals. She believes in solving problems through effective communication, research-based decision making, and an open mindset. Most recently she’s dedicated her time to raising her young family. This has given her an opportunity to explore her interests in gardening and understanding the impact of our choices on the ecosystems around us. Discovering the effects of declining native plant species has further motivated her to prioritize stewardship of the natural world and to pass that knowledge on to her son. Michelle aspires to apply her professional experience toward uncovering solutions to the challenges we all face with supporting native landscapes and wildlife.

Amanda McCash, Board Member 

Amanda graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a degree in journalism and public relations. She currently works as a content marketing specialist for a digital marketing agency, Straight North. Amanda is passionate about communication and recognizes the huge impact that messaging can have on any major endeavor. She serves Sag Moraine as Communications Director and hopes that as such, she can help spread the word on our environmental goals and make real change in our current landscape.

Other Leaders

Vicki Ramirez

Vicki Ramirez, Youth Education Director

Vicki has been an educator for over 30 years and has worked with children/adults from 3 to 21 years. She believes that it is important to teach our children how to be good stewards of the Earth and all its plants and creatures that are so interdependent. Vicki enjoys working with Sag Moraine to educate the next generation about the importance of taking care of “Our” environment.

Sue Miller

Sue Miller, Membership Director

Sue connected with the Sag Moraine Native Plant Community through her love and care of Monarch butterflies.  In the past years, she has raised hundreds of Monarch butterflies in her own backyard.  Sue serves Sag Moraine as Membership Director. She holds a Business Marketing degree and works as a Director of Change Management – improving and implementing new processes and procedures.  She enjoys creating ways to inspire and inform adults and children to take an active part in protecting butterflies, bees and all pollinators.

Alexia Neubauer

Alexia Neubauer, Director of Web Design and Development

Alexia has been a web designer and developer for over 20 years. After recently moving from the city to the suburbs, she found a new sense of purpose after attending a Sag Moraine lecture on Native Plants. With a yard that is currently lacking in plant diversity, she is excited about starting her native garden and using it as a tool to document the process of incorporating native plants into a traditional landscape. She is dedicated to using her digital talents to help spread the word about the importance of native plants and their inherent beauty.  

Clare Parkinson

Clare Parkinson, Website Architect

Clare has been building open-source websites for nonprofits for over 20 years. She lives in a 1918 house with the original prairie topsoil on a tiny suburban lot. There’s not much space, so the native plants grow right next to the vegetable garden and between the tomatoes. She likes to watch the pollinators buzz around in their own little ecosystem. Her favorites are the metallic green bees; she also raises monarch and swallowtail butterflies. She thinks even a small space can be used to provide habitat for our native insects, and would love to introduce more people to the fun of watching backyard bugs.

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