Board and Staff
Board of Directors Sarah Peacock, President
Linda Freisitzer, Vice President
Randi Petrovits, Secretary
Diane Hoe Mucci, Treasurer
Amy Pelletier Clark
Carolyn J. Cole
Kimberly Hunt Lee
Board of Advisors Catherine E. Baer
Katherine H. Kerin
Frederic C. Rich
Judith B. Tankard
BFGA Executive Director Karen S Smythe
and raised in Poughkeepsie, Karen has a BA in Drama from Vassar College and an MBA from The University of Virginia Darden School of Business
Administration. Karen has both public and private corporate experience, including sixteen years as an executive at C.B. Strain & Son, a
Poughkeepsie based mechanical contracting business. Before that, Karen was a marketing executive in the food industry for such brands as Doritos
Tortilla Chips, Skippy Peanut Butter and Dannon Yogurt.
Karen is an amateur gardener with a green thumb inherited from her mother, a long-time member of the Orange & Dutchess Garden Club. Karen
has served on local nonprofit boards, including Vassar College, where she is a trustee and the Bardavon 1869 Opera House where she is the Immediate
Past President of the Board.
Garden Educator Anne Cleves Symmes
Anne was the Horticulturist for the Beatrix Farrand Garden Association for twenty years from 1997 to 2017. She was the leader of the team
that brought the garden at the Bellefield Estate back to its former glory.
Anne grew up in Madison, Georgia working at Cedar Lane Farm, a family owned nursery and display garden that specialized in historic and
native plants. After completing the landscape design program at the New York Botanical Garden, she pursued her interest in public gardens
by working at Bryant Park and the Conservatory Garden in New York City as both a gardener and garden educator.
Horticulturist Karen Waltuch
Karen is the Gardener
at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York City where she maintains the 1.8 acre public park, offers a summer Garden Camp and leads many garden
craft and volunteer workshops throughout the year. She did her professional studies as a John Nally Intern at Wave Hill in the Bronx and with
the Horticultural Society of NY as a Rikers Island GreenHouse Program intern. Through interning and volunteering Karen found her passion for
gardening in public spaces and she finds it a privilege to teach and spread her enthusiasm for all living things.
In her other life Karen is a professional violist who has a diverse career in the NYC jazz, contemporary, Broadway and studio scenes.