Board of Directors

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Jerry Raguse

Garden Operations Committee Chair

A Horticulturalist earning his BS degree from NDSU, Jerry is currently the Grounds Supervisor for Concordia College in Moorhead where he has taken care of the grounds for 28 years. Jerry and his wife, Bernadette,  have lived in the Harwood, ND area for the past 26 years.

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Joshua Cook


A Fargo resident for over 20 years, Joshua graduated from NDSU  with Bachelor's in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design.


He owns and operates 46 North Landscaping & Design with his wife, Audrey.  Both are committed to using many plants in our projects. Josh regularly tells customers "Your paver patios, outdoor fireplaces and kitchens are NOT complete without plants!" 

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Garden Operations Committee

A life-long gardener, Ruth has been a Master Gardener for many years. She enjoys creating beauty in gardens and on looms for others’ enjoyment.


Ruth previously served on the NPBGS board as member and treasurer for two terms. Ruth has lived in Moorhead, MN for 46 years.

Ruth Morton

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Teresa Jesten


Teresa has worked with Gate City Bank for 13 years and is currently an Assistant Vice President and Customer Sales Supervisor at the North Fargo location.


An empty nester living in North Fargo with her dog Angel. Her daughter is a junior at NDSU and her son will be in his first year this fall at NDSCS.


Originally from Anoka, MN, Teresa moved to the Fargo-Moorhead area in 1987 to study Psychology and Sociology at MSUM. She fell in love with the area and never left. Teresa has been through many different things in her life and this community has supported her in ways that she feels saved her life. She believes there is a place for kindness in the world and wants to give back to the community she loves.

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Ann Riley

Membership Committee

Ann has been associated with the Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society (NPBGS) since 1999.


Ann served as Vice President for six years (2002-2007) and has been on several committees, including Programs, Membership, Development and Fundraising.


Ann is currently a Board Member and Chair of the Membership Committee, as well as on the annual February Tea Time at the Atrium (fundraising) committee.

Ann has a passion for something beautiful and different to be developed in the Fargo-Moorhead area and, even though her “gardening” skills are to be desired, she enjoys participating in various Society activities. She anticipates great things happening for the Society in the future to make NPBGS a great destination stop in the F-M area.

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Matt Sorenson

Public Relations Committee

A software and technology consultant with a long list of other interests, Matt cares about environmental education and ecologic preservation of natural areas. On his sleeve he often wears his convictions about gardening, green spaces, wild places, sensory experiences, and a certain wanderlust – and the critical impact of these functions on health and healing, mindfulness, gratitude, and understanding the impact of our actions and decisions on the planet.

As a father, Matt believes it is especially important to foster an appreciation for nature and earth-connectedness to our younger generations. Whether a module of software code or a parcel of land, his ethos is, leave it better than you found it.


Mary Beyer


With a degree in both Accounting and Technology, Mary currently works for Microsoft.  Mary feels she is taking after her mother, who was an avid gardener; enjoying the outdoors, planting and tending to trees, shrubs and flowers.  


To quote Mary, “I look forward to learning more about the gardens and helping to reach a broader audience to enjoy, expand and protect the gardens.”  With global warming being top of mind for so many, I think it’s important to preserve, protect and enhance our green spaces – big and small, and then share that information to increase public support of that effort.

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Barbara Villella

Public Relations Committee

Barbara Villella was chosen to be among the opening leadership team for the Prairie Roots Food Coop and later their non-profit Prairie Roots Community Fund. Her current role as Development VISTA for the Prairie Roots Community Fund is important to her. Improving access to resources, including healthy less traveled foods for all, is a passion of hers.


New to NPBGS, Barb has quickly become a valued member of the Public Relations Committee, and is full of ideas for connecting to other community groups as we grow.

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Marissa Gapp


Marissa is a logistics coordinator and lives in Fargo, ND with her two cats, Melvin and Gertrude. Born in New Mexico, she was raised in Alexandria MN and graduated high school in Tulsa Ok. She currently has plans on pursuing a degree in business starting in January. Hoping to create a better world, she helps when able to, keeps a positive outlook and has a kind word for everyone.