Founder As a systems thinker and regenerative practitioner, Christine Graziano has worked since 1998 managing and directing projects in planning, design and education in the private, academic and non profit sectors and at various scales from residential to regional, and in urban to suburban and rural environments in the USA and abroad. She has earned degrees in Environmental Studies from SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry (Bachelor of Science) and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania where she also completed all coursework for a dual-degree in Natural Resource Management. She is Board member and Land Protection Committee Chair for a local land trust.
Christine is also trained as a doula and actively engaged in mother’s groups throughout the city. She has lived in Pittsburgh for six years, now with her five-year old son and husband in the East End of Pittsburgh, PA.
For the past four years, she has been planting and caring for trees as a volunteer throughout her immediate neighborhood and with her neighbors as part of the state-wide TreeVitalize street tree program.
Hailing from the quiet city of Topeka, Kansas, Brenner Burkholder recently finished his degree in Environmental Science at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. Brenner grew up camping and hiking in the Rocky Mountains, which inspired a deep curiosity in the natural world around him.
Originally a biochemistry student at Goshen College, Brenner was moved to return to his passion for the environment after living and serving with rural farmers at a community agriculture project while studying abroad in Senegal. Additionally he spent the summer of 2017 in Hopkins Village, Belize with a research project mapping flooding and talking to residents about their perceptions of climate change and natural disaster management.
Brenner cares deeply about human dimensions of climate change, environmental degradation and discourses of socio-nature. Seeing the separation of the natural world and human society as a fundamentally flawed narrative, he is eager to serve with Plant Five for Life to connect human wellbeing with the benefits of community tree planting. In his free time, Brenner enjoys long distance trail running, reading, urban gleaning, listening to music, and exploring Pittsburgh.
Seasonal Interns and Team Members
We welcome Jack Dunbar and Max Gamerman this summer to our team, Carnegie Mellon University students with backgrounds in business and policy and a passion for regenerative practice. We also welcome a team of three graduate students from Chatham University’s Sustainability programs.
Board of Directors Our Incorporated Board brings local, national and international depth and guidance. Dr. Tom Crowther, Crowther Lab and Scientific Advisor to the United Nations Trillion Tree Campaign – Plant for the Planet; Ms. Melanie Beck, Founder and President, Beyond Spots and Dots; Susan Somerville, VP of Clinical Transformation, Northwell Health; Lindsay Wood, Public Health Professional and Consultant; and Vesela Tanaskovic, CEO, Afforest4Future.
Advisory Board We are grateful to have the insight and advice of multiple professionals and community members. As we formalize this Board, we highlight two important members: Kit Needham (CMU affiliate) and Maureen May (UPMC).
Community Network Some of our supportive collaborators include Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, Allegheny Land Trust, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, The Midwife Center for Birth and Women's Health, Children's Community Pediatrics, Homewood Children's Village, Hilltop Urban Farm, Friends of Southside Park, Grounded Strategies, Neighborhood Allies, Operation Better Block, Patagonia, Whole Foods, Beta Bites, ACE, Breathe Collaborative, Friends of the Riverfront, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, LandForce, Grounded Strategies, City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Allegheny County Parks Foundation, University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research, Hilltop Alliance, Three Rivers Wet Weather, SchoolPinnd, Kids Plus Pediatrics, Kretschmann Family Organic Farm and MerrittChase/.