Our shared core values
Respect is at the heart of Wild Ones. We have respect for each other, for nature and for the earth.
We’re an inclusive community. Diverse voices and backgrounds make us stronger. That’s why we welcome everyone to join us.
We provide evidence-based information, because the seeds of change spread most efficiently when grounded in data. We monitor and share the latest evidence informed strategies.
We’re action and growth oriented. Just dig in! We learn, grow, and share our knowledge.
Meet our chapter officers
President – Jessica Ausnehmer
Jessica is an Ohio native who is a Business Consultant, Strategic Project Manager, and Professional Visionary Life Coach. She volunteers with Wild Ones both at the local chapter level and on the national membership committee. Inspired by friends over the years, she dove into her native plant journey in late 2020 and spent months studying and creating a design to turn her yard into a beautiful biodiverse native landscape and monarch waystation. She feels passionately about Wild One’s mission and hopes to help people understand not only the benefits of planting native, but that there are ways to help no matter your level of knowledge or experience.
Vice President – Ray Stewart
Raymond Stewart is the founder of Webbedfoot Designs, Inc., a carbon-neutral, sustainable landscape design, and consulting non-profit. He is an environmental landscape horticulturist specializing in Ohio’s native plants and is a Certified Master Rain Gardener, Certified Interpretive Guide, retired science teacher, and founder, past president, and current wetland ambassador of the Ohio Wetlands Association. As lead designer at Webbedfoot Designs, Inc., Ray comes with a wealth of experience as a botanist, landscape manager and naturalist with a strong focus on plant ecology. Ray’s suburban 1/4-acre lot is 30% vegetable and flower garden, with rain gardens and rain barrels managing runoff from most hard surfaces. The process continues as native plants expand into a shrinking lawn.
Secretary – Janice Arch
As a NE Ohio native, Janice knew she wanted to design landscapes from a young age, but it was that first plant ID class back in her sophomore year of college that really sealed the deal for her. Her love of plants began then. After obtaining her Bachelors in Horticulture, she went on to get her Masters in Landscape Architecture and took a native plant ID course which drove her love of natural, healthy, and thriving ecosystems even more. Now, as a licensed Landscape Architect in the state of Ohio, her projects at work range from commercial-retail sites, to EV charging stations, to new school buildings and libraries, as well as NEO stream restoration. At home in Stow, her yard is filled with 20+ native species and is ever-growing. In her spare time she loves to hike with her husband and daughter, talk to anyone who will listen about plants and dogs, and is always up for trying new things & meeting new people.
Treasurer & Volunteer Coordinator – Diane Davis
Diane Davis is a retired HR executive, having spent most of her life in the Akron area but also lived in Virginia and California for 15 years. She graduated from the University of Akron with a degree in Business/Human Resources and received her Masters in Human Resources from Cleveland State. She has two adult children, Emily and Zach, and lives with her husband, Robert and dog, Bernie in Uniontown. Diane is incredibly excited to be able to help our Wild Ones chapter in the Treasurer position. Native plants and healing the Earth are her passions, and she looks forward to getting to know more of our members.
Membership Chair – Laura Fortner-Monegan
Laura Fortner-Monegan moved to Ohio in 2022 from the DC area to be closer to her husband’s family. During the week, she works as a Customer Experience Strategist for the Department of Veterans Affairs. In her free time she fosters cats through the Summit County Humane Society, bikes the towpath and bike and hike trails, renovates her new-to-them home from the 1970s. Most importantly, she is learning and planting like crazy on her land which was a former hayfield. Laura lives with her husband, two cats, one dog, and always at least one foster cat on 10 acres in Sagamore Hills.
Assistant Membership Chair – Jane Lindmark
Jane Lindmark joined Wild Ones as an Assistant Membership Chair because she has a keen interest in the work that Wild Ones does to promote knowledge about the value of native plants and how they work to sustain landscape diversity. Jane majored in Biology and graduated from Kent State University. She is now retired from various careers and could not wait to get involved in projects that have lasting impact for the future. She is slowly working to convert her lawn to support more native species and maintains a large herb garden and a pocket prairie garden. Her 2 rescue cats observe her digging in the dirt from their window perch and wistfully watch the birds at the feeders. She enjoys hiking, birding, reading, gardening, and the many cultural attractions offered in NE Ohio.
Education Chair – Shari Bowers
As a NE Ohio native, Shari has lived most of her life in Berlin Heights. She holds a Master of Arts in history and Masters of Library and Information Science. She has always been passionate about historic preservation, the natural world and libraries. The passion to embrace native plants and landscaping seemed to happen overnight a few years ago. As a lifelong learner this nonfiction bibliophile hopes to add to her list of books about native plants, trees, bees, butterflies and any other resource that will add to her knowledge about all things nature.
In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her sons Clay and Lucas along with an awesome extended family and friends. Her goal in 2024 is to finish her Monarch Waystation habitat and get it registered.
Web Chair – Julie Slater
In addition to co-leading our chapter’s Native Pathway Project and acting as Web Chair, Julie co-owns Meadow City Native Plant Nursery, which will be selling local ecotype native plants from its new brick-and-mortar location on Cleveland’s east side this spring! She is a recent transplant to Greater Cleveland, having grown up in Virginia and overseas. Julie has an M.S. in Environment and Natural Resources from Ohio State and has worked in environmental consulting, wetland research, and environmental education.
Assistant Web Chair – Jack Fortner-Monegan
Jack is a Cuyahoga Falls native, working as a Computer Scientist at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. He contributes his skills to the chapter website and volunteers on the Native Corridor Project. Much of his free time is spent with his wife, Laura, renovating their home and converting a hayfield on their land to a wildflower meadow. His other favorite pastimes include running, bicycling, camping, and trying his best to avoid running over Laura’s latest native plant purchases that seem to magically appear in their yard.
Newsletter/Communication Chair – Ciera Rawson
Ciera is thrilled to volunteer with Wild Ones Greater Cleveland! She especially loves native plant gardening because it’s a great entry point for new people to enter environmentalism by caring for the interconnected lives of people, insects, and animals in our community. Then, as Wild Ones and other green organizations connect all of us, we have a larger collective impact. That’s powerful!
In her day to day, Ciera serves as a Community Engagement Coordinator in Cleveland with the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Region. Their Sacred Grounds program gifts mini-grants and technical support for faith communities to install native plant gardens that engage congregations and communities in this work. Off the clock, Ciera loves to wander through local Metroparks, dive into a book, and explore new crafts.
Board Member – Shelley Tender
Shelley Tender is a NE Ohio native and naturalist who has been fortunate to make her living for the past 20 years inspiring others to love nature too while working for the Medina County Park District. With a combined passion for native plants and desire to make them accessible to everyone, she and her partner Bill started Camel Creek Natives, a home-based native plant nursery. The duo grows native plants, trees and shrubs to sell during special sale dates through the park district, with sale proceeds going to the non-profit support group Friends of Medina County Parks for use in future stewardship projects.
Project Manager – Iris Matos
Iris Matos was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and moved to NE Ohio 30 years ago to attend the University of Akron and stayed. As a market research professional and project manager, she has worked in various industries in her 20+ year career. Her favorite part of her work is helping others get their job done effectively and efficiently. While she’s always loved looking at flowers, she is a newcomer to the native flower planting community and is excited to put her skills to work for Wild Ones and looking forward to learning a lot from her new friends