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Lee and Yasuko 1974.jpg

1974 - with Japanese host sister, Yasuko Nakagawa (Ueda)


  • Kyoto University of Art and Design, "The Japanese Garden - Intensive Seminar," Kyoto, Japan, 2003.

  • University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Master Gardener course, 1997.

  • Asahi Culture Center (Tokyo), Intensive courses in Japanese language, 1983.

  • Nankai University (Tianjin, China), Intensive program in Chinese language, 1980.

  • Michigan State University, B.A., Chinese Language and Literature, 1980 (with honor).

  • Michigan State University, B.A., Asian History, 1980 (with honor).

  • Honors and scholarships (at MSU): Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Alpha Theta, Shao-chang Lee Scholarship (two years), Honors College

  • Rotary International Exchange Student, Fukuchiyama, Kyoto, Japan, 1974.

Liz Lee and Yasuko 2016.jpg

Still friends with Yasuko, who helps us out in countless ways during our crew trips!  (photo: Liz Stanley)


  • Owner, Lee Schneller Fine Gardens, 1995 - present. Designed and built over 300 gardens.

  • Japanese Technical Translator, 1982 - 1995 (full and part time).

  • English Teacher (ESL), Sendai and Tokyo, Japan, 1980 - 1983

Talks and Workshops

Presented over 150 talks and workshops, on these and other topics:

  • Creating Japanese-Inspired Gardens in Maine

  • Designing Continuously Blooming Perennial Gardens

  • Japanese Gardens, Ancient and Modern

  • Gardens of Shoguns and Samurai

  • Japanese Gardens: The Meaning of Water

  • Japanese-Inspired Gardens in the United States

  • Introduction to Written Chinese and the Tao Te Ching

  • Spirituality and Religion in Japanese Gardens

  • Japanese Gardens: Aesthetics and Design Features

  • Zen Gardens of Japan


The Nakagawa Family of Fukuchiyama, who taught me to love Japan as a guest in their home in 1974 and as lifelong friends.


Certified by Maine

DEP in Erosion

Control Practices as required by law for working in the Shoreland Zone

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