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2015 Team of Monarch Mentors

Monarch Mentors was founded by Ina Warren in 2003 to train 55 local Extension Master Gardener Volunteers to provide monarch conservation programs to area K-12 classrooms. It was a success and was heralded by the County School Superintendent and the teachers. So, we are expanding the program to include schools and the larger community.


Monarch Mentors (MM) will offer simple, periodic trainings (local to WNC, usually monthly) to assist, equip and empower volunteers to give basic monarch & pollinator public programs to a variety of groups. These might be church, civic, corporate organizations, youth clubs (scouts/4H), garden groups, etc.


Upon completion of the local WNC training, the new "Monarch Mentor" pledges to schedule three (3) public programs (formal or informal) during the year to"pay it forward" for monarch conservation.  


For those outside the scope of commuting to the WNC area trainings, we will try to help connect potential mentors with naturalists or biologists in their area. If you would like to attend a training and become a Mentor, send Ina an email here.

Ina Warren.

I am a freelance naturalist, lecturer, and educator and live everyday in complete awe of the natural world. I provide monarch conservation programs to schools (K-16), civic groups and natural resource agencies.


I've visited the overwintering monarch reserves in Mexico four times in prep for my second book, the “Monarch and Milkweed Almanac”.  I am a trained presenter for Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project "slide show" on global climate change. In August 2011, I was purposely arrested at the White House with 1,252 other activists, including Dr James Hansen, protesting the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline.

With Dr Gary Paul Nabhan, I co-facilitate


In addition to maintaining the Monarch Mentors Facebook page (since 1-5-15), I created and admin the page called "Milkweeds for Monarch Waystations" (since 3-18-13).

Joyce Pearsall

I have a Bachelor's degree in nursing and employed part time as a nursing consultant for assisted living facilities in Brevard, NC.  Early in my career I focused on coronary care and am now certified as a hospice/ palliative care nurse.


My husband, Frank, and I moved to Brevard in 2003. After meeting Ina Warren whose promotion of monarchs, gifts of seeds and seedlings inspired us to create our first Monarch Waystation, it now is a site with more than 1,000 milkweed plants! I soon became a Master Gardener and Monarch Mentor and active in developing Monarch Waystations throughout our county and especially at the Cradle of Forestry Discovery Center in Pisgah National Forest.


We also participate in the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project ( We’ve tagged and released monarchs since 2009 and, based on recovered tags, at least three made it to Mexico!  I am a Conservation Specialist for and look forward to helping develop Monarch Waystations and promoting monarch butterfly education.

Nina Veteto

Nina is a former classroom teacher with a Master’s degree in Education.


She recently founded Monarch, a non-profit group dedicated to creating monarch habitat in and around western NC and educating the public about the plight of the monarch and pollinators in general.


A nice article about Nina's Pollination Project grant for Monarch Rescue is available here:

Lisa Lemza

As native of southeast Tennessee, I hold a BA in English and retirement papers from the United States Army.  I am a lifetime Master Gardener, a member of Wild Ones, have built and still manage a 23 bed community garden, and built 2 North American Butterfly Association (NABA) certified butterfly gardens adjacent to the commmunity garden.


I'm a member of my city's (Chattanooga, TN) appointed Tree Commission. I have been involved in numerous other garden projects and conservancy actions.  I helped my church acquire the first- in- our -state Greenfaith certification, and am eager to promote the involvement of faith communities in this holiest of work.


Everyday I get up, and the beauty world just knocks my socks clean off.  And I’m doing my best for future generations to see that wonder, too.   


Meanwhile, we are working on a state arboretum status, and planning a "March Madness Monarch Workshop" on Sunday, March 22, 2015 in Chattanooga to both offer learning opportunities about the monarch decline and hands-on experience in germinating milkweed seed and plants. Stay tuned for more details for particulars of place and time.

Nicole Hamilton


I am the Executive Director of the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy in northern Virginia and lead the organization’s Bringing Back the Monarch, Keeping the Magic Alive initiative.


I worked 19 years in management consulting leading strategy and organization transformation projects at Booz Allen Hamilton and now apply these tools to my work in the environmental sector.


I authored the field guide, The Butterflies of Loudoun County, am an avid birder and nature photographer and lead Loudoun’s Amphibian Monitoring program. I enjoy sharing the wonders of nature through field trips and education programs throughout the year.


I have a B.A in Government and East Asian Studies from Colby College and an M.B.A with focus on Management and Marketing from Thunderbird and have traveled through Central and South America,  Europe and Asia.

Jennifer Rhea Serres


I was born and raised in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina and am a massage therapist in down town Brevard. My time at home is spent largely in the garden with my two beautiful daughters, ages 3 and 6. My wonderful parents gave me a love for the outdoors at an early age and I love passing that to our children. My mother, Mary Linville gave me a strong love for the monarch butterfly through including Journey North into my homeschool education.


In August, 2014 I participated in the monarch/phenology workshop at the Nantahala Outdoor Center with the Appalachian Trail Conference's Trail to Every Classroom educators group. This workshop increased my desire to involve all those around me in planting for pollinators and especially milkweeds for monarchs.


I sing and play music in our family band. We named our group Chrysalis as a way to begin conversations about the importance of planting milkweeds and nectar flowers for monarchs. I also tend a kiln with my potter husband, Jason Serres. Within my busy lifestyle I still find helping and educating others of all ages about the monarch butterfly (and other polinators) an essential part of living a happy, healthy and fulfilled life. 


What a joy to hear my daughter Haden ask adults "What are YOU doing to help monarchs?"


I can be reached through my business page at this link:

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