Shawna Joplin, Owner/Operator
As a former regional park superintendent, Shawna has big plans for Dirtbag Gardens. While she does have what her husband would call "a problem" with collecting plants, she is equally interested in developing a natural space for community engagement, nature education, and outdoor recreation.
A North Carolina resident since 2019, Shawna worked as a curator in the Living Collections Department of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Two years later, an abandoned plant nursery went up for sale in Chapel Hill and she made the leap to entrepreneur.
Shawna lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, two kids, cats, geckos, tarantulas, isopods, rat snake, and plants.
Kurt Frega, Owner/Operator
A native to North Carolina, Kurt was born in Chapel Hill and grew up in the Wilmington area. As a teenager, his family moved back to the triangle, where he went on to study Biology at NC State University. Kurt has a strong interest in conservation efforts and is an active volunteer with the North Carolina Herpetological Society and the Turtle Survival Alliance.
Most recently, Kurt worked as a curator at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for eight years where he cared for over 200 animals on a daily basis.
Kurt currently lives outside of Hillsborough with his gracious wife, rambunctious son, menagerie of reptilian pets, and never-too-many houseplants.