Management and Senior Staff
Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum
Bristol, Rhode Island

 

 

 

Administration:

 

Karen Binder, Executive Director

kbinder@blithewold.org 401-253-2707 ext 12

 Bio

 

 

Visitor Services Department:

Tree Callanan, Director of Communications & Visitor Experience

tcallanan@blithewold.org 401-253-2707 ext 23

Bio

Julie Christina, Education Programs Manager

jchristina@blithewold.org 401-253-2707 ext 16

Bio

 

Special Events Department:

Karen Bellavance, Director of Special Events

kbellavance@blithewold.org 401-253-2707 ext 10

Bio

 

 

Curatorial Department and Archives:

Margaret Whitehead, Head of the Curatorial Department

mwhitehead@blithewold.org 401-253-2707 ext 22

Bio

 

 

Horticultural Department:

Fred Perry, Director of Horticulture

fperry@blithewold.org 401-254-6962

Bio

Daniel Christina, Assistant Grounds Manager

dchristina@blithewold.org 401-254-6962

 Bio

 

Gail Read, Gardens Manager

gread@blithewold.org 401-253-7777

Bio

Kristin Green, Interpretive Horticulturist

kgreen@blithewold.org 401-253-7777

Bio

 

2012 Blithewold, Inc. Board of Directors


Michael Szostak, Chairman
Noreen Ackerman, Vice Chairman
Curtis Ley, Treasurer
Douglas Gray, Secretary


Joan Abrams
Jaci Allen
Reenie Barrow
Fred Bertsch
Gioia Browne
Herb Cummings
Pamela Delaney
Pete Deal
Richard Doll
Richard M.C. Glenn, III
Jeffrey Hirsh
Philip Marshall
Geri McCarthy
Mary Catharine H. Miller
Ria Nagtegaal
Arthur Parker
Sally Phillips
Mark Stenning
Patricia Sylvester

 

 

Staff Bios

 

Administration:

Karen Binder, Executive Director: Karen Binder is the Executive Director of Blithewold, Inc. a post she has held since July 2004. Her primary responsibilities include oversight of daily operations, strategic planning, supervision of major capital projects, fundraising, donor and board cultivation, and support for Blithewold’s board and committees. Karen earned a dual degree — a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and in Political Science, from St. Mary’s College, Maryland, and a Master of Arts in Education with a focus on management and training. Formerly, Karen worked as director of operations and as executive director for several large YMCA associations. Karen most recently served as Chair of the Bristol Museum Association, was a member on the Bristol Comprehensive Plan Committee and Vice-Chair of the Bristol Noise Commission.

 

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Visitor Services Department:

Tree Callanan, Director of Communications & Visitor Experience: Tree Callanan, director of communications & visitor experience, joined Blithewold in 2010. Ms. Callanan’s previous experience in Rhode Island’s non-profit arts, culture & tourism industry includes the Arts & Business Council of Rhode Island, Trinity Repertory Company and WaterFire Providence. At Blithewold, Tree is responsible for marketing, public relations and program management. She works closely with the executive director, staff and volunteers to attract more visitors and enhance their experience at Blithewold. Ms. Callanan demonstrates her commitment to local community by serving as the past vice president of the board of directors for Fusionworks Dance Company, former co-chair of the professional development committee at the Volunteer Center of Rhode Island and a member of the communications committee for Coalition for Transportation Choices. She has a B. S. in Marketing from Johnson & Wales University and is pursuing a certificate in Print Design at the Rhode Island School of Design.

 

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Julie Murphy, Education Coordinator: Julie Murphy began working at Blithewold in May 2008. She is responsible for educational programming, for example Buds & Blossoms Summer Camp, Family Fun Fridays, the Junior Master Gardener Program, Intimate Garden Tours, Soirees in the Garden, the annual Garden Design Luncheon, and Gingerbread Wonderland at Christmas. Julie manages the newsletter and the Guide-by-Cell audio tours, and assists the Director of Communications with programs such as Daffodil Days, Autumn Splendor, and Christmas at Blithewold. Julie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Horticulture, Ohio State University, and studied Landscape Design at Myerscough College, in England. Her previous employment includes posts at the Falmouth (Massachusetts) Service Center, where she was Community Garden Coordinator, and Heritage Museums and Gardens, Sandwich, Massachusetts, where she was horticulturist for three years.

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Special Event Department:

Karen Bellavance, Director of Special Events: Karen Bellavance, CMP, coordinates weddings, manages specific events and special sales associated with them, and markets Blithewold as a rental venue. Her department generates 45% of the organization’s operating revenue. Karen attended Bentley College’s Event Management Program, receiving a Certified Meeting Professional certificate. Prior to coming to Blithewold in 2006, Karen worked at Celebrations to Remember, a wedding and event planning business, and was Group Sales Manager at 22 Bowen’s and The Mooring Restaurants, in Newport, Rhode Island.

 

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Curatorial Department and Archives:

Margaret Whitehead, Head of the Curatorial Department: Margaret Whitehead has worked at Blithewold in different capacities for eighteen years. She was the property’s volunteer curator for ten years and was hired as paid staff on a part-time basis two years ago. Margaret was a founding member of Save Blithewold, Inc. and a member of its Board of Directors for nine years. She organized ‘Christmas at Blithewold’ for ten years and serves on the Buildings, Grounds and Collections Committee of the Board. Margaret trains and supervises a capable volunteer staff of ten archivists and is writing a comprehensive history of Blithewold.

 

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Horticultural Department:

Fred Perry, Director of Horticulture: Fred Perry manages Blithewold’s horticultural staff and is responsible for the maintenance, planting, and restoration of the 33-acre Blithewold property. He received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Rhode Island in 1989. Prior to coming to Blithewold eight years ago, he was employed at Orchard Acres Land Creations, Greenville, Rhode Island; Sylvan Nursery, Westport, Massachusetts; and Tranquil Lake Nursery, Rehoboth, Massachusetts.

 

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Daniel Christina, Assistant Grounds Manager:
Daniel Christina performs landscape maintenance and assists the Director of Horticulture. Dan received a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture and Turf Management from the University of Rhode Island. He began working for Blithewold as an intern in 2002, continuing in this position during summers until 2006, when he was hired full time. Dan has also worked for Little Tree Farm in North Kingston, Rhode Island, managing the nursery and assisting with retail operations, as well as in the Agronomy Department at the University of Rhode Island, maintaining machinery and managing crops.

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Gail Read, Gardens Manager
: Gail Read works part-time supervising garden volunteers and coordinating work in gardens and greenhouse, managing the garden budget, ordering plants and supplies, propagating plants, designing gardens, supporting events, and teaching classes in addition to regular garden and greenhouse maintenance. Gail has worked at Blithewold since 1990, and received her Associate of Science degree in Floriculture from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and her Bachelor of Science in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Rhode Island. Gail is a Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist. Prior to coming to Blithewold, Gail worked at Faneuil Hall Flower Market in Boston, Massachusetts, and at her family’s Prince’s Hill Nursery, in Barrington, Rhode Island.

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Kristin Green, Interpretive Horticulturist: Kristin Green assists the Gardens Manager in garden and greenhouse maintenance. She also works on garden design, plant propagation, and planting, and supervises volunteers and a summer intern. Kris writes about and photographs the property for the Blithewold blog, posted twice a week, submits articles for the organization’s newsletter, labels garden plants, and teaches classes. Kris was hired in June 2003. Prior to her post at Blithewold, Kris worked independently as a gardener for Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California; the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington; T.J. Brown, Inc., Newport, Rhode Island; and for private clients in Middletown, Little Compton, and Cranston, Rhode Island, and Westport, Massachusetts. Kris received her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts: Painting, from the University of Washington, with elective course work in Botany, Urban Horticulture, and History of Landscape Architecture. Kris is a Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist.

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