Our Leadership

Gretchen Carnaby

Gretchen is a garden designer who has contributed over 30 years of leadership and expertise to Salem’s public landscapes, including Deepwood and Bush’s Pasture Park. She is co-founder of Friends of Bush Gardens, the Lord & Schryver Conservancy, and the Salem Hardy Plant Society.  In addition to bringing plants and people together, Gretchen is passionate about protecting wild, natural places.

Christine Chute

Christine was employed from 1983 to 2010 by the State of Oregon in several positions, but mainly as an Assistant Attorney General for the Oregon Department of Justice.  When Christine was retired, she was the section manager for a group of 18-20 attorneys who advised state agencies (Department of Transportation, Corrections, Secretary of State, Higher Education, etc.) on legal policy, legislation, liability matters, etc.


Christine was also a frequent writer, speaker, and trainer of other attorneys and state employees, specializing in administrative procedures and rulemaking.

When Christine retired in 2010, Governor Kitzhaber appointed her as the public member of the Oregon Board of Pharmacy, which regulates pharmacists, pharmacies, and drug manufacturers in Oregon, and adopts the schedules of controlled substances for state law purposes.

Christine has been active on the boards of nonprofits since her college days. Her favorite thing about nonprofit boards is that a small and dedicated group of people can make small but significant differences in the lives of others (with relatively little effort).

Bonnie Heitsch

Bonnie is a landscape architect whose professional practice focused on designing and planning public parks and gardens in Michigan, Alaska and Oregon.  She also managed a small nursery and designed plant installations at Michigan State University.  As a volunteer, she served eight years on the Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Salem Keizer School Board, Salem Planning Commission, Oregon Child Care Commission  and served with several non profit organizations and foundations.  She is passionate about providing outdoor recreational spaces and led several projects to renovate school playgrounds and neighborhood parks, advocated for community aquatic facilities, rails to trails projects and safe pedestrian connections.

Bonnie also practiced law with the Oregon Department of Justice for 20 years. Upon retirement, Bonnie took the OSU Master Gardening class and spends time in her garden and with her grandchildren.

Kathy Savicki

Kathy is a clinical social worker, newly retired after a long career developing and managing mental health programs. She was a founding member of Salem Hardy Plant Society and volunteered with Friends of Bush Gardens. A native Oregonian, Kathy spends as much time as possible tending her large country garden in the Eola Hills.

Michael Slater

Michael Slater is an organizer, advocate, and nonprofit executive. He has over twenty years’ experience in nonprofit organizations that have worked to address problems of inequality. Outside of work, Michael is passionate about public landscapes, environmental policy, and urban design.