The Board of Visitors for the UW–Madison Arboretum serves as an external advisory body to the Arboretum Director. The Board of Visitors provides advice and counsel to the Director on matters for which an external perspective is critical; establishes links between the Arboretum and allied public and private agencies; advises on programs and projects that enhance discovery and quality of life and are true to the Wisconsin Idea, which extends the reach of the University to the State and beyond; forms an advocacy network for the Arboretum; and advises and assists in major fund raising efforts and provides financial oversight and review.
The Arboretum Director appoints the Board of Visitors members, with recommendations from the Dean of the Graduate School, the Arboretum Committee, the University of Wisconsin Foundation, Wisconsin Alumni Association, current and past members of the Board of Visitors, and Arboretum Staff, among others.
Members shall be selected on the basis of their recognized leadership, their expertise and professional experience, their willingness to devote valuable time, and their interest in the Arboretum and its programs.
Board of Visitors
Nola Walker, Chair
A Wisconsin native, Nola Walker serves as a volunteer steward with the UW–Madison Arboretum, faculty with Edgewood College teaching environmental justice, and as Assistant Director for Assessment with UW–Madison Libraries. In addition to serving as chair of the Board of Visitors, Nola serves on the Board of ¡Milwaukee Evaluation!, a social justice affiliate of American Evaluation Association (AEA). She also serves on the Sustainability Advisory Council (SAC) at UW–Madison. Nola is a passionate learning facilitator, environmental educator, mindfulness and compassion practitioner, and strategic information consultant. Nola is committed to learning, living, and facilitating mindful inclusion and advocacy in environmental service, initiatives, and experiences. She formerly served as co-leader for Wisconsin’s chapter of Outdoor Afro, which has a mission to facilitate recreational outdoor experiences for African Americans. Collaboration is inherent to inclusive environmental service, and Nola has found much fulfillment in her relationships with Earth Partnership, Holy Wisdom Monastery as an Inclusion Council advisor, Care for Common Ground, Catholic Multicultural Center and CORE.
Clare Carlson has been a naturalist for the Friends of Capital Springs Recreation Area (CSRA) since 2015, developing events, stewardship opportunities, interpretive materials, and citizen science programming rooted in environmental education. She develops and leads many of these activities that connect the public to the CSRA, which is a 2,500-acre multi-jurisdictional park stretching west from the shores of Lake Waubesa to Fish Hatchery Road. Her position involves closely coordinating these activities and initiatives with Dane County Parks, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, and the CSRA Friends’ board. In addition, she volunteer as an environmental educator for the Cambridge School District, working with educator Georgia Gomez-Ibanez. Clare also helped to establish and served as board president of the Friends of the Glacial Heritage Area.
A native of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Susan C. Cook joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music in 1991, where she is now the director and a professor of musicology. As a participant in the Wisconsin Idea Seminar in 1992, she became acquainted with the work of Aldo Leopold and subsequently took part in prairie restoration programs with Holy Wisdom Monastery. Her home on Madison’s near west side is in the Wingra watershed, and through her engagement with the Arboretum and its programs, she has become a proponent of rain gardens and the use of native plantings. She is honored to give back to the Arboretum and continue its mission of land care.
Laurie Elwell is the Friends of the Arboretum board president. She grew up in Upstate New York and moved to Madison with her husband, Rick Niess, in 1978 to pursue a MSSW degree. She has devoted much of her professional career to working on behalf of crime victims. Laurie was an avid Girl Scout growing up, is the mother of two Eagle Scouts, and has served on the executive board of the local Boy Scout Council. She was the founding president of the board of Friends of PACT, a program of Mendota Mental Health Institute that supports individuals living with severe mental illness in the community. Laurie is a certified Wisconsin Master Naturalist volunteer and a 2019 graduate of the Yahara Watershed Academy. As a naturalist volunteer she has collaborated with the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board and the Arboretum on projects to promote good environmental stewardship by property owners along the river and in neighborhoods in the Lake Wingra Watershed.
Margarete R. Harvey is a retired landscape architect who ran an independent design studio in Milwaukee for over twenty years with projects from sculpture gardens to private residences. As a believer in community service, Margarete has served as president of the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Friends of Villa Terrace, and the Park People of Milwaukee County. While studying landscape architecture in Madison, the Arboretum was a favorite spot for studying and relaxing.
Chuck Henrikson has a BA from St. Olaf College and a PhD from Purdue, and he spent his career teaching anatomy at schools of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue, North Carolina State, and the UW–Madison. Since retiring in 2009, he enriches his daily walks by studying and keeping track of birds (he’s a real bird nerd), submitting all his sightings as a citizen scientist to eBird at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He also leads bird walks, teaches a beginning bird course for the Madison Audubon Society, volunteers as a steward at the Arboretum, and volunteers for Saturday Science at the Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery. He still enjoys working with veterinary students, volunteering to teach avian anatomy and helping teach neuroanatomy labs.
Dolly Ledin coordinated outreach for UW WISCIENCE for twenty-seven years, where she built long-term partnerships (to strengthen science education) between the university, local K–12 schools, and organizations that serve youth. She worked as an elementary and middle school teacher, an environmental educator with the WDNR, and adjunct faculty with UW Stevens Point. She has also led courses for teachers in Puerto Rico, led university students on a study-abroad course in rural Ecuador, and spent a year as the environmental education coordinator at the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde, Costa Rica. She has an MS in land resources from the UW–Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. She received the Sister Joel Read Civic Leadership Award from the Wisconsin Campus Compact in 2015 and has received partnership awards from the Madison School District and UW–Madison. Dolly now volunteers as co-chair of the environmental education work group for Wisconsin’s Green Fire.
Curt Meine is a conservation biologist and writer based in Sauk County, Wisconsin. He serves as senior fellow with the Aldo Leopold Foundation and Center for Humans and Nature; as research associate with the International Crane Foundation; and as adjunct associate professor at the UW–Madison. He served as on-screen guide in the Emmy Award-winning documentary film Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time (2011). Meine has authored and edited several books, including the award-winning biography Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work (2010) and The Driftless Reader (2017). In his home landscape, he is a founding member of the Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance.
Roger Pierson has lived a mile from the Arboretum for over twenty-five years. Crossing frozen Wingra Creek to Gardner’s Marsh that first November, he beheld a freshly felled six-inch tree lying beside a two-foot stump amidst random wood chips. The ends were chiseled alike, engineered by a local dam builder. At ten, his Cincinnati home was adjacent to the nation’s largest urban forest, where uncovering crawdads in a creek followed swinging by thirty-foot vine above it. A professional problem-solver, he is a painting contractor, like his grandfather. Since conversion to Madisonism he has served on the board of James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation, practicing stewardship there and at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton. He has enjoyed working at the polls the last twenty-seven elections. Roger brings a Midwestern sensibility of the arts and humanities, expressed through music, contra dance, travel, and love of the outdoors. He finds acting locally makes the best semi-retirement.
Stanley A. Temple is the Beers-Bascom Professor Emeritus in Conservation in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the UW–Madison. For thirty-two years he held the academic position once occupied by Aldo Leopold, and during that time he won every teaching award for which he was eligible. He is currently a senior fellow with the Aldo Leopold Foundation. He has received special recognitions for his contributions to ecology and conservation from the Society for Conservation Biology, The Wildlife Society, the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, the American Ornithologists’ Union, the Explorer’s Club, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. He has been president of the Society for Conservation Biology and chairman of the board of the Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin. He served five terms as a member of the Arboretum Committee and chaired the committee for three terms.
Sal Troia enjoys being outdoors in nature and is an avid bicycle racer. Living near the Arboretum almost his entire life, he has used the trails for hiking and snowshoeing. His wife Judy has been a volunteer receptionist at the Arboretum Visitor Center for twenty-three years and enjoys hiking and snowshoeing on the trails as well. She is on the Friends of the Arboretum board. Sal received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with honors from UW–Madison and was a bank executive for twenty-eight years. He ran customer service support companies for two bank holding companies during his career. He and Judy have two grown children who each have two children. Sal is a past chair of the UW–Madison Nelson Institute board of visitors and is currently an emeritus board member. He also served on the Wisconsin Lakes board. He is a member of the Yahara Lakes Association board, currently serving as its president, and is also on the Porchlight board.
Levi Wood is a native Madisonian who grew up enjoying the natural world by visiting state and local parks, canoeing, boating and sailing on Lake Mendota. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in biology from Grinnell College and completed a master’s degree in Zoology at UW–Madison with a thesis study of breeding birds in pine forests in northern Wisconsin. For three summers during graduate school, he was a bird life instructor at the National Audubon camp in northwestern Wisconsin. From 1981 through 1984, Wood attended the UW–Madison Law School, while spending summers as a naturalist in Yellowstone National Park. After law school he worked in Chicago for the Environmental Protection Agency, then returned to Madison and worked for the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency until retiring in 2010. During those years Wood was active in Madison Audubon as a field trip leader and for 20 years as the field trip coordinator, and he also led birding trips to Costa Rica. Moving near the Arboretum and visiting it often, Wood became an Arboretum steward in 1995 and a naturalist in 2001. He took the Wisconsin Master Naturalists introductory and instructor’s courses. In 2010 he joined the Wisconsin Society of Ornithology Board and helped manage their Honey Creek Nature Preserve in the Baraboo Hills for ten years. He has been a lifelong avid cyclist, hiker, and frequent traveler – often in search of birds.