Cultivate Helena’s mission is to inspire local youth through educational gardening programs that foster connections with the community, nature, and locally grown food.
Nann Parrett, Executive Director
Nann founded Cultivate Helena in the spring of 2013 with the intent to share her passion for education and gardening. As a Level II Montana Master Gardener, she finds extreme pleasure in tugging up weeds, planting seeds, and pruning her plants with TLC. Her passion for vermiculture began about 25 years ago, when she started the University of Oregon’s first preschool worm composting program, which has since become a campus-wide program.
Nann is also a DJ for an MTPR music show, Night Train, and previously DJ’d for another Montana show, The Juke-N-Jug, on 89.9 FM KGPR Great Falls. Formerly a high school English and Web/Graphic Design teacher from Portland, OR, with a professional background in journalism and publishing, she is now working from home in Helena as an online instructor of English composition for the University of Great Falls, and as a freelance author/editor/publisher/graphic designer. She lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs, cat, and a heap of red-wiggler worms.
Jenn Lawson, Board Chair
One of our newest board members, Jenn has really taken to heart her lead role in our organization. She is a communications and marketing strategist, writer and video producer — with more than two decades of experience in Montana and Washington, DC — and has been instrumental in keeping the forward momentum in Cultivate Helena promoting its mission.
For nearly a decade, Jennifer was a producer for the CBS News’ Washington Bureau where she worked for ‘CBS This Morning’ and ‘48 Hours’ on topics including politics, health, and education. Since her time in Montana, she worked in public relations and marketing for the Governor’s Office of Community Service and Montana State Parks. She received a 2014 Special Achievement Award for Outstanding Service from the State Parks Division and a 2012 New Media/Marketing Award from the Montana Recreation and Parks Association. She lives in Helena with her husband, 8-year-old son, and dog, “Bug.”
Charlie became our treasurer in March of 2016. He is a retired hydrologist who worked for many years with the U.S. Geological Survey in Helena, and for several years in California. He and his wife Bonnie recently moved back to Helena from Rancho, Cordova, and are happy to be close to the other Helena Parretts, so they can spoil granddaughter, Maizy.
Amy Budke, Board Secretary
We are so saddened that one of our founding board members, Jan Peccia, lost her battle with cancer. Jan was a very dear friend, and we miss her infectious smile. Moving forward, we will keep her close to our hearts and her family in our thoughts. We will always appreciate Jan’s help in breaking ground for Cultivate Helena.