Chapter Directors

Below is a list of the Greater Baltimore chapter directors, who serve a 1-year term. Elections are held once a year, typically in  November. Members are invited to vote for directors at the annual meeting when elections are held. 

Chapter Directors

Amanda Wray, President & Web Chair

Vinaya Frank, Vice President & Programming Chair

Anne Gneo, Secretary & Marketing Chair

April Kerns, Treasurer

Martha Ruffin, Membership Chair

President

AMANDA WRAY founded the Greater Baltimore Wild Ones Seedling Chapter in 2021 out of a passion for native plants, and has, along with her fellow board members, continued to build the group through outreach and educational activities and now serves as President.

Last year, she assisted with and testified for the bill which became adopted into law as the Maryland Native Plants Program, which codifies an official list of Maryland Native Plants, encourages nurseries and growers to identify official Maryland Native Plants through signage, and provides a position at the Maryland Extension Office for a native plants educator. Prior to this, she founded the Towson Native Garden Contest, now in its third year, as a way to provide prestige and support for native gardeners.

She assisted in development (by providing design and illustration) of the 2022 edition of the book, Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas Field Guide, which builds upon previous editions of this well-loved reference book, as well as helped with the design of the Mid-Atlantic Invaders Tool, an online database of invasive plants. She runs three Facebook groups focused on native plants and is currently offering fall garden signage to home gardeners to educate passers-by on the importance of fallen leaves and dried stalks as habitat.

Amanda resides in the Towson area and has added more than 50 native trees and a variety of native herbaceous plants to her landscape since moving to the area in 2017 from Southern California, where she worked in garden design with drought tolerant native plants to shrink the footprint of lawns on residential properties. Her career also includes work as a reporter, editor and graphic designer, and has degrees in communication and graphic design.

​Through her work with Wild Ones Greater Baltimore, she is forging community and organizational connections to further aid in partnership and outreach opportunities to help spread awareness of the critical importance of native plants to the health of our vital ecosystems.

Vice-President

VINAYA FRANK  is the Vice President and Program Chair for the Greater Baltimore Wild Ones Chapter and also a Master Gardener with the University of Maryland Extension (UME). Her passion for native plants is the primary driver for the outreach and educational events she has planned and been a part of as a Wild Ones Board member as well as a Master Gardener. Along with healthy biodiversity in our landscapes, she also believes in racial and ethnic biodiversity in all aspects of human lives. Toward that goal, she also serves as Co-Chair on the Diversity Committee of the UME program.

​Vinaya lives in Ellicott City on a 0.5 acre lawn-free, wooded yard that sustains not only the local wildlife, but also its human occupants as they continue to grow their own food. She has been gardening for more than 15 years, starting in the tropical climate of India and to now the temperate deciduous region of eastern United States. She truly believes that a yard should be fully functional and a part of a healthy ecosystem, and so her entire family, including their 3-year-old son, contributes toward adding more native plants and toward removal of invasive species to provide native species a chance to survive. In just a short time of 3 years, Vinaya has added more than 200 different species of native plants and successfully removed several invasive species from her yard.

​Prior to serving in several volunteer positions, Vinaya worked as an Affirmative Action and Compliance Consultant where she assisted several US based federal contractors on their affirmative action requirements. She also led several compensation and pay equity projects, diversity analytics as well as compliance audits for clients across the globe. She is passionate about fostering racial diversity in the corporate world and providing several minority groups a chance to shine. She has also worked as a soft skills trainer where she custom-designed and delivered training on several topics including business communication, time management, negotiation skills, team skills, stress management, and problem solving.

Secretary

ANNE GNEO  joined the Wild Ones Board as the Secretary in the summer of 2022 shortly after the Greater Baltimore seedling was founded and volunteered to add the role of Marketing Chair a few months later. As the group has quickly grown, Anne has been inspired by the immense interest in environmentally sound landscaping and through meeting other amazing local native plant gardeners.

​With the goal of making the world a little better, Anne has volunteered for many community organizations throughout the years. Currently, in addition to her roles at Wild Ones, she is a board member for the local PTA, a CASA (court appointed special advocate for foster children) and volunteers at Luna’s House, a local animal shelter.

​Anne lives in Bel Air, Maryland on a .2 acre suburban lot and is a stay-at-home mom to 2 teenage children. She has been gardening for over 20 years, but only recently realized the importance of gardening with the entire ecosystem in mind. For the past 3 years, she has been prioritizing adding native plants and planting “green” mulch. Although established non-native plants remain, all invasive plants have been removed and more than 100 native plants have been added that are spreading throughout the landscape.

Treasurer

APRIL KERNS  is a founding member of Wild Ones Greater Baltimore. A Maryland native, April grew up delighting in the flora and fauna of the area. What started with filling her parents’ house with praying mantis hatchlings further developed while studying Biology at Goucher College.

She developed a love for research and complicated, unanswered questions, however after a semester of getting lost in the woods studying the effect on flora of BT treated or logged areas of Oregon Ridge, April decided to go to law school. She continued to feed her passion for the environment in her free time. April is Counsel at Franklin & Prokopik, representing employers and insurers in workers’ compensation matters before the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission, Circuit Courts, and appellate courts.

​April is delighted to share the joy of native plants and their associations with all walks of life and all stages of interest. She hopes to encourage and support anyone planting native plants, whether they have one manicured cultivar or a whole ecosystem on their property. She lives in Owings Mills on over an acre where she experiments with whatever native plants speak to her. She has hosted the 2023 plant swaps.

Membership Chair

MARTHA RUFFIN joined the Wild Ones Board as Membership Chair in the spring of 2024, inspired by the groups’ focus on sustainable landscaping practices using native plants and their informative and well-run programs.  Spreading the word and growing the membership seemed like a great fit. I love promoting the benefits of native plants!

Martha moved to Baltimore City in 2007 and fell in love with Cylburn Arboretum and was a regular garden volunteer for a few years before going through the master gardener and master composter training in 2010. It was during this time that she developed an appreciation for the role that native plants play in our environment. From 2011-2015, she had a gardening business that focused on conservation gardening practices. While raising her three sons, she co-led the middle school environmental club at Roland Park Elementary Middle School, where they installed a rain garden (the students participated in a design charrette and worked with Blue Water Baltimore on the installation, which included the participation of the entire 6th grade class); and she co-led parent volunteers who installed raised beds for a vegetable garden and maintained the gardens around the school.

As a member of the Caring for Creation Committee at the Church of the Redeemer, Martha has helped with the application of several grants for conservation landscape projects, including the installation of a rain garden, the renovation of our north parking lot to address stormwater remediation, and a native plant garden near the entrance; they also host the annual Baltimore Native plant sale. She’s a member of the Guilford Garden Club, which has held many successful native plant sales, and recently published the Native Plant Garden Workbook: Selecting Plants for Mid-Atlantic Gardensan extensive list of native plants, organized by growing condition.