Home Ground Habitats’s mission is to be the North Bay Area’s leading habitat-focused landscaping resource. We are a nonprofit, volunteer-run, organic growing ground and educational center, committed to engaging, promoting, and supporting sustainable, California-appropriate landscaping.
President Inge Morrison has been a close friend of Charlotte’s for 35 years. After spending several years in the Middle East with her daughter and husband, she returned to California to pursue her college studies and run a small business. Following that, she spent 30 years in small and large financial institutions, such as Sutro and Merrill Lynch, before retiring as a Director. She loves walking the trails of Marin and identifying plants and birds with others who enjoy nature. She has always been in awe of Charlotte’s abiding love for and extensive knowledge of native plants and habitats, and the enthusiasm and energy she exerts to preserve and promote them. She looks forward to applying her energy and business acumen for the benefit of Home Ground.
Founder Charlotte Torgovitsky has been a gardener and lover of plants for most of her life. She always needs to be growing something, no matter what else is going on in her life. Her passion became a vocation in 2001 when she became the Garden Education Manager and Volunteer Coordinator at the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross, a job she created and held for 8 years. This led to careers as a garden educator, native plant propagator, landscape consultant, author, and local environmental leader. She has become known in Marin County for her knowledge of native plants and butterflies and her willingness to share her knowledge with others interested in learning. She founded Home Ground Habitats in 2011 as a native plant nursery and educational facility, a model of social enterprise with a local focus, where volunteers propagate both plants and ideas for a new paradigm in home landscaping.
Alexis Fineman is an educator, artist, and climate and ecological activist/advocate. She is also the youngest city council member in Marin County, having been appointed and then elected to the San Anselmo Town Council. Alexis fell in love with native plants and habitat while volunteering at the SPAWN nursery in high school, and her involvement in local politics stems from this love. When the town planned to replace a local community habitat and native plant garden with Bocce courts, Alexis was advised to reach out to Charlotte Torgovitsky. Charlotte helped provide beautiful educational signage for the garden; the garden prevailed; and a pathway to Council opened up. Now, as a council member, Alexis seeks to institutionalize and codify climate and ecological considerations in local policies. She has taught a variety of environmental education programs. An erstwhile organic farmer and wilderness instructor, she completed her Permaculture Design Certificate at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas.
Andre Borgman discovered the joys of nature while participating in a biology class at San Francisco State University’s field campus in the Sierra Nevada. A volunteer Nature Guide for WildCare, since 2006, Andre shares environmental, animal and plant knowledge with elementary age children at China Camp, Ring Mountain and Spring Lake. Andre was raised in Marin and has been an accounting and bookkeeping business owner for over 30 years. Andre volunteers through LITA (Love is the Answer) by taking Roscoe, his Australian Shepherd, to homebound patients and bringing them joy to their otherwise quiet day. Andre enjoys maintaining his rose garden with over 25 varieties of plants. Any opportunity to travel, hike or bike is always exciting. Andre enjoys dog walking, reading and sports.
General Manager Alan Good is a native plant horticulturalist and water-efficient residential garden designer. Alan studied landscape horticulture at Merritt College in Oakland, and has a BA from San Francisco State University. He owns Oak Hill Garden Design, and his practice has been enriched by extensive experience managing and developing large landscapes. Alan was Landscape Manager at Marin Art and Garden Center from 2005 to 2008 before his notable six-year leadership of the Landscape Exhibits Department at the California Academy of Sciences. While there, Alan established the plantings for the iconic 2.5-acre living roof, developing it from the original four species to over one hundred species of native plants. The roof environment was expanded to include beekeeping, honey production and habitat for California native pollinators and birds. Alan brings his knowledge of water conservation, soil management, and edible and native plant-based design to enrich Home Ground.
Gulten Eicher, Volunteer Coordinator joined our Home Ground Habitats group of volunteers about 10 years ago – and has shared and promoted our vision of creating habits abundant with native plant and animal species ever since. Her love of gardening and getting her hands in the soil goes back to her childhood in her native land of Turkey where she worked and played in the family’s gardens. She has carried that love into her years since, planting pollinator-friendly plants, vegetable gardens and fruit trees wherever she resided.
When you visit at Home Ground you are as likely to find Gulten on her belly carefully taking volunteer seedlings from under a mother plant, as you are to find her directing a small army of volunteers in the nursery. Gulten is also equally aware of and ever watchful for the bugs, birds, bees, butterflies, lizards, and snakes that live in our gardens: and yes – as our most excellent – and only! -‘Gopher Huntress’ she is ever on the watch for these creatures! When not on the job Gulten works in her own extensive gardens and fruit orchard where she also manages a flock of chickens. Gulten also donates her time and energy as needed to the Luther Burbank Home and Garden in Santa Rosa, and is an active member of the Sonoma County Beekeeper’s Association.
Photo – Gulten (R) with longtime volunteer Alice Bachelder (L)
Charlie: Our mascot and buddy… and Charlotte’s shadow!
Home Ground Habitats is a 501c3 non-profit organization, tax ID 84-3398667.
All contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by the law.