About Us (who are these people anyway?)

Laura Smith (owner)
BS. University of Nevada-Reno, 1981 – Crop & Soil Science
MS
c. University of Nevada-Reno, 1985 – Integrated Pest Management

Laura is the president, head grower, and general operations manager at Westcape. She
has spent her entire professional career working with plants in the western U.S.  Laura has

a
longstanding interest in native plant production and use which formed the basis of
Westscape. Prior to starting to Westscape, she worked for 15 years in academic plant
research including stints at the USDA-ARS
-Reno, the University of Arizona, and came to
Montana State University as a researcher in 1988. Laura has an extensive background in
plant propagation, physiology, pest management, taxonomy, and botany.  She worked as a
plant breeder and molecular biologist on the genetics of alfalfa and spring wheat and
developed some of the first tissue culture protocols for hybridizing alfalfa and its wild
relatives. Laura has co-authored scientific journal articles covering these subjects.  
Westscape has maintained an ongoing research program focused on the development of
halophytes (highly salt tolerant plants) for the reclamation of degraded native habitats
including the endangered sagebrush-steppe.  Westscape has received two USDA-SBIR
grants to work on these species of which Laura is the principal investigator. Laura founded
Westscape with her husband, Robert in 1997.

Robert Dunn (owner)
BS. New Mexico State University, 1984 - Agronomy
MS
c. New Mexico State University, 1986 – Plant Breeding & Genetics
Montana State University - 1987-1993 - Plant Genetics Ph.D. program

Robert has 30
+ years of plant production and related agricultural and horticultural experien
ce in the western U.S.  Like Laura, he has a passion for native plant use both in the
urban and reclamation setting.  Prior to starting Westscape, he worked as a
graduate
assistant in
alfalfa breeding at New Mexico State helping to develop pest, drought, a
nd saline tolerant alfalfa varieties. Robert came to Montana State University in 1987
where he directed operations for the Forage Breeding Program. There he worked on the
selection and improvement of numerous grass and legume species for use in Montana wit
h a focus marginal
, saline, and arid land conditions.  He is a co-developer of three alfalfa
varieties
currently in use in Montana dryland environments. At Westscape, Robert is in
charge of greenhouse operations and maintenance, nursery shrub production, and is the
principal collector of native shrub species for the nursery.  Robert also works with contract
sales and consults with nursery clie
nts on appropriate species selection, plant health,
insect, disease, weed management, and other issues that impact the long-term and
sustainable success of client projects.  Robert founded Westscape with his wife, Laura in
1997.


Mary Ellen “Mem” Schultz
BS.  University of Connecticut, 1975 – Horticulture

Mem has worked at Westscape since “the early days”.  She works with perennial and grass
species production at Westcape and brings a wealth of horticultural expertise to the
nursery, having worked in the plant industry for some 30 years. Mem has an unparalleled
knowledge of native plants, seed, and plant propagation and has developed protocols for
numerous hard to propagate species.  She is a collector of hard-to-find native seed which
make their way into the nursery’s perennial offerings. When not at Westscape, Mem is an
avid hiker, backpacker, and skier and has spent many years roaming Montana’s open
spaces with her husband, Bob.

Carmen Backes
B.S. Montana State University, 2009 - Horticulture            
2012 ISA Certified Aborist

Carmen
is the nursery manage at Westscape. She worked as an intern at the nursery in
2008 during her undergraduate time at MSU and still wanted to return when the opportunity
arose.  She is at home working with plants in both the city and the backwoods; after
graduation she worked as an urban horticulturist in Seattle and as a field botanist
technician in Alaska’s Denali National Park. Carmen is an ISA certified arborist among her
many other plant and nursery skills and works with perennial production and nursery sales
at Westscape.  In her spare time she can be found enjoying the endless outdoor
recreational opportunities that Montana provides. In 2009, Carmen hiked the entire length
of the Pacific Rim Trail …. no small feat.


Cally Driessen     
B.S Montana State University, 2008 - Land Rehabilitation & Soil Science
M.S. University of Wyoming, 2012 - Soil Science
Thesis: Effects of natural gas development and reclamation activities on soil properties &
the use of controlled livestock impact as a reclamation tool.

Cally is the newest member of the Westscape team. She has a strong background in
reclamation soil science as well as large-scale vegetation monitoring, field collection
methods, data analysis, wetland delineation, and management of rangeland weeds. Prior to
coming to Westscape, Cally worked as field reclalmation scientist in Montana, Wyoming,
and North Dakota.


Wayne Mortimer
Graduate of Box Hill College, Melbourne, Australia, 1982 – Architectural Drafting

Wayne is truly a “Renaissance Man” having lived, worked, and played all over the world for
many years. Wayne grew up in Australia and eventually immigrated to the U.S., settling in
Bozeman where is could easily be the town’s mayor.  He has a broad and innovative
knowledge of building, construction, and equipment which comes in handy at the nursery.  
At Westscape, Wayne handles much of the transplanting of bareroot and other potted
shrub material – doing “the heavy lifting”.  In his other life, Wayne is a certified professional
counselor who works with at-risk children around Montana and is a general all-around
great hand and a great guy.

Sam Rogers
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine – UC Davis
PhD – Berkley – Chemistry
Professor Emeritus, Montana State University – Department of Biochemistry

Sam is a long-time friend and highly underpaid employee at Westscape. Sam works as a
seeder/planter at Westscape and helps in the field with wildland collections. He has also
worked on the production of several endangered species at the nursery.  Sam is a walking
wealth of both scientific and general knowledge and we continue to “pick his brain” on a
regular basis.  Who needs Google when you have Sam?