President – Dave Weiss
Dave first became interested in bonsai in the late 1980’s. It was 1990 when he purchased his very first. Though it didn’t live long, Dave has plenty to care for now. Dave became an MBS member in November of 2016 and has been to almost every general meeting and Tuesday evening basic class since. During the day, Dave is a special education teacher at Henry Sibley HIgh School in Mendota Heights. If you have an ear, Dave will talk it off about his passion for bonsai. He will also take every bit of advice and mentorship he can acquire from those around him with any level of passion for the hobby. Since a little kid visiting the Como Park Conservatory, Dave has loved the beautiful gardens, fascinating Koi, that used to be in the sunken garden, and now the breathtaking bonsai display and Japanese garden. Dave is very excited about MBS and hopes to serve well as it’s newest president.
Vice President – Cheryl Sykora, General Meeting Program/Auctions Chair
Cheryl first became interested in bonsai after seeing the State Fair show in 1999. There was a really nice serissa in full bloom at the show. She loved the idea of growing trees at a small scale and was already gardening and raising orchids. Her husband gave her a juniper many years prior but I did not know how to care for it and it died. Soon after she joined the society and took a beginner workshop in the spring.
Cheryl was previously the State Fair chair, programs chair and served on the board and workshops for several years, she is also currently the auction chair. She currently is on the American Bonsai Society board assisting with developing articles for the journal and co-chair for the 2018 convention in the St Louis area in the Gateway Center in Illinois and also assisting with the 2019 convention in Houston, Texas. Very full plate of bonsai activities while also trying to maintain her own trees and garden.
Of the positions on the board, she find programs the most challenging as we need to continue to strive to provide the membership information that can be used to develop their own growing interest in bonsai while not breaking the bank. Cheryl would like continue the legacy that Dale and Sue have started with a push toward refinement of trees and encouraging exhibition in national shows.
2nd Vice President – Tim McCarthy
After taking the Novice Workshop in September 2011, Tim became a member of MBS. He’s quite happy that his first tree is still alive and well. He’s also jumped right in by volunteering and many events and is serving for a second year on the board. A software engineer manager by trade, Tim’s other interests include reading, hiking, camping and anything else that gets him outdoor. In the future, he would like to help novice enthusiasts to keep their trees alive so they stay active in bonsai.
Treasurer – Eric Lampland, Treasurer
Owner of Lookout Point Communications, Eric became a member of MBS in In Zen practice there is a mediation practice called “art practice.” Two of the areas that were of particular interest to him were bonsai and calligraphy. In the late 1990’s he facilitated a meditation practice class around bonsai. Although he had no knowledge of the art, much less the meditative practice, he came to find that he was taken with bonsai. After experiencing the initial frustration of ignorance, he found quiet and lately, he has seen beauty emerge from his experiences. He has many other interests which include technology, Japanese gardening, philosophy, physics and the behaviors of people in politics and life. He finds that the society is oriented around bonsai display, or the external aspects of bonsai. His focus is more internal. It is the connection with nature and the quiet, meditative state of mind that attends working with the trees. He’s not sure how MBS could bring that to others, but is sure that each of us has had that meditative experience.
Secretary – Scott Vanderlinde
Scott Vanderlinde has been working in the engineering field for 25 years. In 2011 he joined the Minnesota Bonsai Society because he likes to plant trees and watch them grow. Having held multiple leadership positions in the Boys Scouts of America, he plans to encourage more members to get involved by volunteering. His interests include Z scale model trains, reading, hiking and backpacking.
Director – Dale Krueger, Chair Fundamentals Class
Interested in bonsai for many years, Dale took every opportunity he could to learn more. After becoming a MBS member is 2000 he served on the board for 8 years as Mother’s Day Show, Winter Banquet, Members’ Tour and Picnic Chairs and 1st Vice President. He also served on the 30th Anniversary committee. Currently in his third year of study at Bonsai Mirai, he’s excited to share what he’s learned. When he isn’t working on trees, Dale also enjoys house improvement projects, camping, kayaking, collecting trees and stones in South Dakota and Northern Minnesota, a good single malt scotch and is in the process of renewing his interest in ceramics.
Past President – Sue Krueger, Website and Social Media
Sue was introduced to bonsai by her husband, Dale. After years of checking out the bonsai at Como, the Minnesota State Fair and Spring Home and Garden Show, she wasn’t convinced it was a good idea. Bonsai seemed like plant torture to the life-long gardener. It wasn’t until she saw a wonderful collection of trees in White Bear Lake that she began to see bonsai in a new way. It seemed a natural extension to her gardens and now she’s a firm believer. Since becoming a member of the society in 2000, Sue served as Newsletter editor for 4 years and as a committee member for the Mother’s Day Show, Members’ Tour and Picnic, General Meetings and State Fair Show. In addition to bonsai, she also enjoys gardening, cooking for large groups, camping with her nieces, kayaking, hunting for stones and collecting Ponderosa pines in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Director – Joyce Nelson Shellhart, Membership
Joyce first became interested in bonsai in high school when she began working for a florist and saw her first “tiny tree” and continued to work at a greenhouse throughout college. Joyce was a high school art teacher until MS forced early retirement, but continued to teach and keep involved with art. Like everyone, life has led her down roads she didn’t always expect; social entrepreneur, author, professional speaker and a family caregiver. Recently, Joyce realized that if she ever wanted to explore bonsai she better get started-the trees will only be reaching their peak before her! Joyce enjoys working with this living art form immensely it allows her to relax and spend hours working with her trees. She is delighted to find so many wonderful people that are willing to share their ideas and knowledge with novices.
Director – John Falenschek, Events/Mother’s Day Show
John has been interested in the Japanese culture, architecture, and architectural landscaping since his 20’s. Having had just a couple of Bonsai over the course of some time, with poor results, he eventually took a beginners course that enriched his knowledge and experience. Just becoming a member in 2016 he is looking forward to serving on the board. He is excited to continue with Bonsai as a way to enrich his and others everyday lives.
Director – Bill Maher, Events/State Fair
Bill first experienced bonsai after attending an adult education course on the Art of Bonsai. As part of the course you were able to create your own bonsai and take it home. I was hooked. Joined MBS in 2002 to continue learning and developing the skills needed to create quality bonsai trees. Retired from Scherer Brothers Lumber, working in management. Enjoy golf, fishing, hiking, most all outdoor activities, reading, bonsai and spending time with my grandchildren. Look forward to serving on the board.
Director – Celina Blandford, Website and Social Media
A member since 2015, Celina discovered Bonsai first-hand upon visiting the International Buddhist Temple near Vancouver, Canada. She’s been hooked ever since. Working as Senior Designer for a local Minneapolis company, Celina was drawn at first to the design-side of bonsai. However, soon after joining MBS, she’s really come to appreciate and enjoy the techniques horticultural knowledge she’s learned from others. Celina hopes to improve her abilities and help MBS continue as a valuable resource for beginners and enthusiasts alike.
Director – Colleen Paulus,
About five years ago, Colleen attended a training for volunteers for Como Park Zoo’s Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden and Bonsai collection. She heard Ken Ellis talk about his bonsai collection and the principles of Bonsai. He was very enthusiastic and passionate about the art of Bonsai. His enthusiasm was contagious and soon she started talking to Como Park visitors and her friends about Bonsai. When she retired after 35 years as an Environmental Health Specialist, she was given a membership to the Minnesota Bonsai Society and her first tree.
Besides learning more about bonsai, she likes yoga, gardening, hiking, traveling with my husband and doing things with her children and grandchildren. She is looking forward to serving on the MBS board.
Director – Jeff Smith, Workshops
Jeff became interested in bonsai in 2006 after seeing them in a book. For a few years he learned on his own through books and the internet. But after a career change and lots of travel the trees were lost and the hobby was put on hold. In 2015 his career and living situation changed again and was able to re-start his bonsai journey. When he joined MBS he decided to go all in and went to any event, class, or workshop he could while also volunteering. He prides himself on finding local alternative species and bargain hunting for anything and everything bonsai. He enjoys revealing the art of bonsai to anyone who will listen. Jeff works as a Controls Engineer and programs packaging machinery and industrial robots.