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Meet The Team

Where the Passion for Nature Unites



Events Coordinator

Hi. I have lived in Irving since 1985, but have never created or supported a native garden before. I became involved with Friends of Irving Gardens in August 2020 and discovered that native plants are the perfect fit for my “brown” thumb gardening skills and my nature watching hobby. I look forward to seeing more Irving nature enthusiasts at the Garden soon.




I’m not from Irving, but I’ve been searching DFW for other plant people, and I was so lucky to stumble across FIG in February of 2021. I have been a gardener for as long as I remember and went so far as to study botany in college before setting off on a different career path. I’ve been working slowly to collect as many native plants as I can in my own small garden, and I recently developed the somewhat addictive hobby of photographing the insects that visit these plants. The Friends of Irving Gardens have only encouraged me in this pursuit by giving me some space on their blog to write about plant-pollinator interactions. Since joining FIG I have learned so much from this inspired group of volunteers who all believe in the power of a small pollinator patch to transform the way visitors approach their home gardens. They have renewed my hope for the future of suburban ecology.

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Rachel Ledger

Website Coordinator

I have lived and worked in Irving for 4 years now and I love Campion Trails. It has really enriched my time here and I’m so thankful for the butterfly garden. I love that it supports pollinators, that FIG helps to educate others, but really it’s great to see people’s faces light up when they walk through the garden. I also just like pretty things! It is a nice place to spend time in the fresh air and take in mother nature’s beauty. When I’m not spending my volunteer time in the garden, I help with the website and Instagram.


Annette French

Events Coordinator

Hi, my name is Annette and I have lived in Irving since 2010. I enjoy a nice walk along the trail by the garden during the cool temperatures of the day. I try to visit the Butterfly garden because my husband manages & runs our backyard garden farm. I look forward to the next weeding event.

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David Gladden


With the Covid lockdowns I was looking for a community volunteer activity that would let me leave the house and go outside. I found FIG by searching for local groups online. I enjoy being able to go to a local pollinator garden and do basic weeding and planting work on weekends. Nothing fancy, just something to get me outside and enjoy nature and help the local community.

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Brad Woods


I am eager to make a positive impact on our environment through use of native plants, sustainable practices, and education. I have discovered that letting go of long-held views of what urban landscapes should be (chemically treated yards of non-native plants) can be difficult, initially.  Flourishing native plant landscapes are wonderfully satisfying.  I hope you find motivation and ideas from the Butterfly Garden to use native plants at your home.


Jim Widener


Owner of Hogbottoms. Attorney, and self trained naturalist, garbologist and storyteller among other assorted abilities. Irving resident from birth to 1970 then from 1978 to this moment. 5th generation to have lived in what is now Irving. Read the encyclopedia at 10 years old and continue to read anything especially educational and how-to material. Favorite quotes "never stop learning", "it takes all kinds", "respect our planet" and many more. Ask me a question and I will try to answer with either facts or fiction.




I have always found joy and solace in gardening. However, gardening to support native wildlife and plants has given my old hobby a new purpose. By joining FIG, I was able to share with others what I have learned over the years while learning new things along the way. It has been an incredible journey!


Thom Davis


Thom designed the layout of the garden beds for the pollinator garden at Birds Fort Trail in August of 2020. He incorporated winding pathways in the design to enhance garden interaction and create distinct areas. He is an active resident of Irving with a passion for gardening and community.


Ashley Halfast


I am a mom of 3 and Irving transplant since 2010. My interest in ecologically sound gardening designs grew out of a desire to change my children’s world for the better. In a world facing many uphill battles, gardening with a focus on soil restoration and increased biodiversity seemed the most logical for me, as a homeowner and science geek, to pursue. The science is sound, and the product is beautiful!


Debra Fournerat

Lead Garden Developer

I've lived in Irving since 1992, and I walk and bike frequently along Campion trails. I found great comfort and solace in the butterfly garden when I lost my parents in 2016 and 2017, so I was sad to see the garden overgrown with weeds in 2020. 

Restoring and maintaining the garden with my neighbors and fellow volunteers brings me such joy. I love tending the plants, watching for caterpillars and chatting with visitors and answering their questions about the plants and butterflies.


Fatema Biviji

Lead Coordinator

When I first began working on the renovation project of the Butterfly / Pollinator Garden at Birds Fort Trail, I thought I was just helping to beautify a public space. However, the experience has proven to be much more. I now have a much greater appreciation for the connectedness of nature and wildlife, the potential of my own home garden, and most of all - the volunteers who made this project possible.

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