Karen Oberhauser, Director
608-262-2748  |

Karen joined the Arboretum in 2017 after 32 years studying monarch butterflies and teaching at the University of Minnesota. She loves working at the Arboretum because it blends her passions for environmental education, conservation research, and habitat conservation, and because the staff, volunteers, and friends of the Arboretum are an amazing team. Her favorite Arboretum moments occur during her daily walk (or bike ride) to work through the Leopold Pines and Curtis Prairie, where she is constantly reminded of the legacy that this team is carrying on.

Joseph Halaas, Assistant Director
608-263-7760 |

Joseph Halaas joined the Arboretum in 2021. He has worked on the UW–Madison campus for over a decade. Most recently, he served as the Director of Global Programs and Partnerships in the Wisconsin School of Business. He finds inspiration in mission-driven work and is grateful to support the Arboretum operational infrastructure that allows staff, volunteers, and the community to advance the important work of caring about people, our environment, and the relationship between them. Some of his favorite places in the Arboretum include Curtis Prairie and Wingra Woods.

Susan Day, Communications Coordinator
608-265-3355  |

Susan has been at the Arboretum since 2013. She has been a communications professional for more than 10 years and an editor and publication manager for more than 20. She enjoys collaborating with coworkers and sharing stories and images of the Arboretum’s wide-ranging expertise, work on the land, and ever-changing habitats and scenery. Her favorite places are the Grady Tract oak savannas, Curtis Prairie when the grasses and wildflowers tower overhead, and the pine forests. She is grateful for this rich natural resource in the middle of Madison and all who work to care for it.

Scott Dyke, Arboretum/Journey North Communications Specialist
608-264-1491  |
Scott joined the Arboretum in January of 2020, having previously worked for the Driftless Area Land Conservancy in Dodgeville, WI. A native Madisonian, Scott has explored and enjoyed the Arboretum since he was a child, and he still regularly hits the trails to refresh his mind and observe native biodiversity. He considers the Arboretum instrumental in fostering his passion for the natural world and hopes it will do the same for future generations. Some of his favorite locations are the Wingra Oak Savanna and the Skunk Cabbage Wetlands.

Judy Kingsbury, Volunteer Program Coordinator
608-262-5604  |
Judy started at the Arboretum as a volunteer with Earth Focus Day Camp. She has worked as a naturalist and ranger and became the volunteer program coordinator in 2002. Judy enjoys working with volunteers and her fellow employees to take care of this special and significant place. Some of her favorite sites include Teal Pond, West Curtis Prairie, and the bench in the Longenecker Horticultural Garden’s pinetum.

Erica Lee, Development Specialist
608-263-7889  |
Erica joined the Arboretum in fall 2018, bringing nearly 20 years of nonprofit development experience. She has worked at a variety of organizations in the United States and Ireland, including the Field Museum in Chicago. She is a self-professed ‘data nerd’ and a lover of lilacs. She enjoys spending her lunch break walking through the Arboretum gardens.

Chad MacWilliams, Custodian
Chad has been the Arboretum custodian since 1999, when the Visitor Center addition was under construction. In addition to maintaining the Visitor Center and outbuildings, he enjoys mowing in the tree collection, making repairs, removing snow, and helping on the prescribed fire crew.

Amy Novak, Custodian
Amy Novak joined the Arboretum staff in the fall of 2016. Serving as weekend support, she is grateful to be a part of this legendary and sacred space. Her favorite moments include sightings of screech owls, crane families, coyotes, and hawks. Her favorite time is driving into the Arboretum at dawn. The peace and tranquility here are unmatched.

Robin Zander, Financial Specialist
608-265-4454  |
Robin joined the Arboretum in January of 2021. Robin has over nineteen years of experience in accounting, human resources and office management, primarily in the private sector. She strives to build an efficient but fun atmosphere in the office setting. Lilacs are some of her favorite flowers and a welcoming sight and scent of spring every year. The ever changing views of the Arboretum are her favorite part, where every day can be a new adventure of discovery.

Land Care

Michael Hansen, Land Care Manager
608-262-3289, 608-225-3995  |
Michael joined the Arboretum land care crew in August 2006. Prior to that he worked for The Nature Conservancy, the Illinois DNR, the Virginia Department of Conservation, and a private restoration contractor in Wisconsin. He gets most excited about prairie ecology and management, but over the years has come to appreciate the woodlands and wetlands, too. His favorite parts of the Arboretum are the remnant prairies and oak savannas of the Grady Tract as he feels they best represent what Dane County would have looked like before European settlement.

David Stevens, Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Curator
608-890-4825  |

David joined the Arboretum staff in 2015. Prior to that, he spent 13 years working in the field of forest tree genetics with the UW–Madison Forest and Wildlife Ecology Department. David has a BS in horticulture from Virginia Tech and an MS in horticulture from UW–Madison. When not at the Arboretum, he manages his family’s certified organic farm by Baraboo. Outside of the gardens, his favorite Arboretum site is the Spring Trail Pond area, with its mixture of secluded open spaces and historic stonework.

Susan Carpenter, Wisconsin Native Plant Gardener
608-262-2445  |

On the Arboretum staff since 2003, Susan teams up with garden designer Darrel Morrison, staff colleagues, students, and community volunteers to care for and monitor the Wisconsin Native Plant Garden—which is used for learning, inspiration, and enjoyment. She values how everyday garden observations, chance events, and new questions lead to rich educational opportunities, research, and community participation in science and stewardship. Her favorite Arboretum hikes are the 10K route around Lake Wingra and slower walks through prairie, savanna, woodlands, and gardens while photographing bumble bees.

Tom Bresnahan, Natural Resource Specialist
608-262-3289 |

Tom graduated from UW–Madison in 2016 with a conservation biology major and a certificate in environmental studies. He has worked for the City of Madison’s forestry and conservation department and also has experience in arboriculture. Working at the Arboretum allows him to restore land back to its native state and to reduce and eliminate invasive species. His favorite part of the Arboretum is Greene Prairie due to the high diversity of prairie plants.

Chelsea Camp, Natural Resource Specialist
608-262-3289 |
Chelsea graduated from UW-Green Bay in 2018 with a biology degree, with an emphasis in ecology and conservation. She has worked as a biological science technician at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary as well as the U.S. Forest Service in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Chelsea also worked as a restoration technician in the private sector before joining the Arboretum in January 2021. She loves to see the positive impact that restored and maintained natural areas have on native insect and animal populations and will never miss a chance to identify an unfamiliar insect. She enjoys any area of the Arboretum where she can find interesting and unique insects.

Zane Fuller, Horticultural Specialist
608-262-3289 |
Zane graduated from Ohio State University in 2019 with a degree in forestry. After spending a summer as a restoration crew leader for The Prairie Enthusiasts, he joined the Arboretum staff in the fall of 2019. Zane enjoys the diverse opportunities to gain new knowledge and skills that come from working at the Arboretum. His favorite spot in the Arboretum is among the firs on the eastern side of the pinetum, especially on a calm sunny day when the scent of the conifers is strongest.

Christopher Kregel, Natural Resource Specialist Crew Leader
608-262-3289 |
Christopher began his restoration career in 2008 after getting a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in agricultural industries. He has worked for many different nonprofits including The Nature Conservancy and the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Christopher started working for the Arboretum in 2013. He loves working here because he gets to continue his passion of increasing habitat for species of high conservation value. Christopher’s favorite parts of the Arboretum are Wingra Oak Savanna in spring, the Wingra Overlook Prairie/Wingra Woods area, and the Grady Tract.

Stephanie Petersen, Ranger
608-262-2746 |
Stephanie joined the Arboretum staff in February 2018. Prior to that she worked with various conservation corps in Idaho, Iowa, Texas, and West Virginia. In 2012 she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in Environmental Studies and Art. Stephanie’s favorite part about working here is being out on the trails everyday interacting with visitors. Her favorite place in the Arboretum is Wingra Woods and she especially enjoys the cultural history of the effigy mounds.

Lance Rudy, Natural Resource Specialist
608-262-3289  |

Lance graduated from Iowa State University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology. After college, he worked for Conservation Corps Iowa doing land restoration for various organizations. He joined the Arboretum in 2016 as a restoration technician. Lance’s favorite part about working here is being able to create native habitat for wildlife and getting to restore the amazing land that the Arboretum has to offer. His favorite area is the Grady Tract because of its diversity of plants and habitat types.

Education and Outreach

Gail Epping Overholt, Education Coordinator
608-262-5522  |
Gail joined the staff on January 11, 2017, Aldo Leopold’s birthday. She chose thae date specifically for that significance. A personal goal for Gail is to help people of all ages see the “land” as a community of soil, water, and living organisms—not excluding people. Having a special affinity for looking at issues with her eyes on the water, she looks forward to getting to know the Arboretum by canoe or kayak as well as the trail. It’s a wonderful reminder of the interconnectedness and interdependence of the land community—not excluding ourselves!

Lisa Andrewski, Family Nature Program
608-265-5872  |

Lisa began working at the Arboretum in 2013 as a student ranger. After graduating she joined the Arboretum education team and leads tours, puts together the Arboretum’s monthly Family Nature Programs, and organizes the weekend naturalists who lead the Sunday public tours. Spurred on by the writings of Aldo Leopold, Lisa is a passionate advocate for conservation and restoration ecology. She is constantly motivated by being surrounded by Leopold’s legacy.

Marian Farrior, Restoration Work Party Manager
608-265-5214  |
As the restoration work party manager since 2002, Marian has organized and led the volunteer work parties and the restoration team leader training program at the Arboretum. She has worked in the environmental field as a consultant and educator for over 25 years. At the Arboretum, she has taught classes about pattern in nature, biomimcry, permaculture, and forest garden design, and she co-leads the Wisconsin Master Naturalist volunteer training course. She is grateful for all the dedicated volunteers who help tend this urban oasis, where native plants flourish and wild critters thrive.

Jennifer Mitchell, Precollege and Community Education Specialist
608-265-5872  |

Jennifer has been at the Arboretum since 2007. Her favorite part of her job is working with the children, youth, and families that participate in our programs because she loves sharing her love of outdoor discoveries with others. Jennifer enjoys the Arboretum in all seasons—the golden yellow of the maple trees in Wingra and Gallistel woods in the fall, the stillness of Icke Boardwalk in the winter, the frogs calling from the ponds in the spring, and the gardens and prairies in the summer.

Alli Wenman, WATER Outreach Specialist

Research and Ecological Restoration Studies

Brad Herrick, Ecologist, Research Program Manager
608-263-7344  |
Brad joined the Arboretum staff in 2007. He is a plant ecologist and particularly enjoys spending time in wetlands, prairies, and oak savannas. His research interests include plant community ecology, jumping worm biology and ecology, and environmental monitoring. He feels lucky and humbled to work alongside and learn from passionate and dedicated colleagues. His favorite Arboretum moments are the unexpected encounters: watching a coyote trot through Longenecker Horticultural Gardens, listening to a Great Horned Owl call in the Lost City Forest, or silently watching a red-headed woodpecker dance around a snag looking for a meal.

Christy Lowney, Research Specialist
608-265-0535 |

Christy joined the Arboretum in 2016. She has a background in forest ecology and environmental science. Her research interests include disturbance ecology, fire as a management tool, and forest dynamics. Every year she looks forward to spring at the Arboretum for the wildflowers, baby wildlife sightings, and prescribed fires.

Julia Whidden, Citizen Science Coordinator
608-890-0018 |
Julia joined the Arboretum team in 2021 and is a newcomer to Wisconsin from Canada. She earned her Masters in Biology from Acadia University in Nova Scotia in 2015, after which she was a Fulbright Visiting Researcher in shark conservation at the University of Miami. She is passionate about Citizen Science and womxn in STEM, having founded a science and nature exploration nonprofit for girls and underrepresented genders in 2018 called Terranaut Club. Julia is enamored by sandhill cranes and oak savannas, and loves to explore the Arboretum’s seasonal changes.

Nancy Sheehan, Citizen Science Coordinator—Journey North Program 
608-890-0948 |
Nancy joined the Arboretum in fall 2018 after managing the Rock River Coalition volunteer stream monitoring program for seven years. Nancy is passionate about citizen science. She earned a master’s degree in environmental management from Yale University. She also served in the Peace Corps in West Africa and, after working in the field of international development, moved to Madison to pursue further graduate studies at the UW–Madison Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies. Nancy lives in a Lake Wingra neighborhood. She has many cherished memories of visiting natural springs, listening to sandhill cranes, and cross-country skiing in the Arboretum.

Friends of the Arboretum

608-571-5362  |