Laurie Elwell, President
Laurie grew up in Upstate New York. She 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 directors 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.
Kate Martin, Vice President
Kate is a retired civil and environmental engineer and UW–Madison alumna. She worked for the City of Madison Engineering Division and local engineering consulting firms on projects ranging from infrastructure to landfill design, environmental clean-ups, and utility-scale wind and solar power. She mentors the senior capstone design class of civil engineering. She has enjoyed walks in the Arboretum and lived nearby for several decades. For the last three years she has served as a volunteer receptionist and steward. Her favorite Arboretum walks are seasonal: Gallistel Woods during spring ephemerals, Grady Tract for lupine bloom, Curtis Prairie in late summer, and Wingra Woods in fall. She is an avid quilter and occasional gardener and has often observed tree and shrub specimens in Longnecker Horticultural Gardens before selecting them for her yard. She and her husband Michael have one grown daughter and a Westie.
Don Miner, Treasurer
Don is emeritus Assistant Vice Chancellor for Business Services at UW–Madison. He retired in 2010. In retirement, he volunteers as treasurer of the Friends of the UW–Madison Odyssey Project and the Daily Cardinal Media Corporation. He also volunteers to keep financial records for and financially advise Beth Israel Center and the Martin Luther King Coalition of Madison and Dane County. He also does volunteer database maintenance for the Oakwood Village Foundation and the Madison Literacy Network. He has a BS in Math and Computer Science from the University of Illinois and an MS in Accounting from UW–Madison. He grew up in the north suburbs of Chicago. His wife Kathy has been involved with the UW–Madison Arboretum for many years as an environmental educator, leading tours and watching over the Arboretum’s library. Don and Kathy have two married sons and two grandchildren.
Laurel Sukup, Secretary
Laurel is the Chief of Sustainability for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). Her work allows her to engage with businesses and municipalities across the State and support them in reaching their sustainability goals. A veteran of the WDNR, her commitment to the environment does not stop after 5 p.m. Laurel is also a Master Naturalist and is thrilled to serve as a board member to support programming and opportunities for residents and visitors to experience all that the Arboretum has to offer. Originally from Milwaukee, Laurel and her partner, Michael Mucha, have made their home on the near east side of Madison where they can often be seen towing a bike trailer containing their very pampered standard poodle, Juneau.
Jane was born in Milwaukee and moved to Madison in 1952. She graduated from West High School and earned a BA in English at UW–Madison. In 1974 she earned a MS in curriculum and instruction at UW–Madison. She taught fourth and fifth grades in Madison Public Schools for 32 years. She was very active in Madison Teachers Inc. and served as secretary for nine years. Upon retirement she mentored first-year teachers and tutored elementary-aged children in her home. She also became involved in the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association where she served as secretary and social chair. She and her husband, Bill, love walking through the Arboretum. Bill was a Saturday-morning volunteer for many years helping to clear brush, gather seeds, etc. The Luncheon-Lectures Series became a favorite activity in retirement. Jane and Bill have one daughter and one granddaughter who live in Middleton – so wonderfully close!
Anita lives with her husband, John, in the Nakoma neighborhood, blocks away from the Arboretum’s west entrance. With seven mature oaks on their lot, she has learned the joys of shade gardening with native plant species. A biology major from UW–Madison, she spent time in Curtis Prairie as an undergrad counting galls on golden rod stalks. Now she enjoys taking in the Arb’s plant life in a more leisurely fashion. Anita works as an attorney with the law firm Quarles & Brady, LLP, specializing in intellectual property.
Ellie grew up in the Marquette Neighborhood of Madison and from a young age was taught the importance of volunteerism, specifically within her own community. She graduated from Emerson College in Boston with a BA in Television Production, while playing college basketball. She then began her adventure, moving to Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago, producing for Entertainment Tonight, the Oprah Winfrey Network, and various reality shows. Eventually she landed in Minneapolis, where she pivoted careers to focus on coordinating events. After over a decade of living all over the United States, she moved back with her husband, Greg, to Madison’s far eastside, where they live with their dog, Augie Doggie, and toddler, hurricane Carter! Ellie is the customer education events manager at Zendesk, a global customer service software company. She enjoys being outside whenever possible, including running through the paths of the Arboretum. She plans to continue getting outside with her family even during the winter months, and you can always find her loudly cheering for the Badgers, Packers, Bucks, and Brewers.
Donna grew up in Appleton and came to Madison in 1978. She is a graduate of UW–Madison with a BS in economics and a MS in business management. After graduation, she spent her entire professional career at UW–Madison, starting as an internal auditor and finishing as Director of Auxiliary Operations Analysis. She retired in 2020 after 36 years. She and her husband, Scott, live in Middleton and spend their free time hiking, canoeing, and following Badger sports. They enjoy visiting the Arboretum and are also on a mission to visit all of the state parks in Wisconsin. They have two grown children and are looking forward to the upcoming birth of their first grandchild.
Pat retired from UW–Madison in 2009 after serving 16 years as the undergraduate Biological Sciences Advisor. She graduated from St. Olaf College with a BA degree in biology and chemistry and earned advanced degrees in biology from Stanford and Purdue. She and her husband, Chuck, are long-time supporters of the Arboretum and both have completed steward training. They both volunteer at the Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery in various programs there. In addition, they have offered lab sessions on vision for middle school field trips. Pat submits Arboretum events monthly to the Isthmus, the Wisconsin State Journal, and the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau. Her mother was a great influence on her love of outdoors, and Pat carries that forward with her own family as they enjoy biking, hiking, camping, canoeing, and gardening.
Paul grew up in Milwaukee and came to UW–Madison in 1973. He fell in love with the city and the lakes and never left. Originally, he came here to be a microbiologist but gradually drifted to environmental policy and law, which required less math. He is currently a senior partner with the law firm Stafford Rosenbaum LLP where his practice focuses on water law issues including wastewater, drinking water, stormwater, wetlands, and shoreland development. Most of his clients are municipalities, but some are private entities. He has co-taught environmental law at the UW–Madison Law School for over 30 years and has published several books and articles on water law issues. He has two adult sons, one in Los Angeles who is also a lawyer, and one in Pewaukee who has toddler twins and a newborn. Being a grandfather is one of his many pleasures. He also enjoys folk music, reading, hiking, swimming, church activities, and travel.
Leslie has lived in the beautiful UW–Madison Arboretum neighborhood for the past 17 years. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, she earned degrees in Speech Pathology and Deaf Education at the University of Michigan and Smith College. She taught the deaf at schools in St. Louis and northern California and also served as an elementary principal. In 2003 Leslie and husband Bill Hantke, newly retired, moved to Madison. Since then, Leslie has found numerous opportunities to serve and volunteer in her community—with the Literacy Network, Madison Sewing Guild, Schools of Hope, Junior League of Madison, the Madison Civics Club, the Patient and Family Advisory Council at UW Hospital, and as secretary of the Arboretum Neighborhood Association. She served as FOA board secretary for two years and then as FOA staff member assisting the Luncheon-Lectures, trips, and NewsLeaf committees.
Jennifer Sereno is a professional communicator committed to conservation and community sustainability. She currently serves as public affairs program manager for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, focusing on policies and programs that expand equity in housing and economic opportunity. She previously served as strategic communications manager for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and as business editor of the Wisconsin State Journal. An avid endurance athlete, Jennifer and her husband David have run the trails, skied the tracks and ridden the roads of the Arboretum for 30-plus years. A member of Rotary Club of Madison, she also serves as secretary of the Friends of Capital Springs Recreation Area and vice president of The Daily Cardinal Media Corp.
Carl Sinderbrand is a senior partner at the Axley law firm in Madison, Wisconsin, where he primarily practices public advocacy environmental law and construction litigation. He also has served on the board and as chair of several non-profits, including Clean Wisconsin and Wisconsin Wetlands Association. A graduate of Oberlin College and UW–Madison Law School, he came to love the Arboretum during his very first days as a student. Over the years, he and his wife Maryann Sumi have treasured the Arboretum for biking, hiking, nature walks, the beauty of spring among the lilacs and other flowering trees, and the joy of winter skiing in Curtis Prairie and the woods. Maryann and Carl have three grown children and two adorable granddaughters.
Dr. Tipple attended UW–Madison and then Marquette University School of Dentistry, graduating in 1985. He spent three years on active duty in the United States Air Force Dental Corps and later led the Madison-based Wisconsin Air National Guard Dental Corps prior to retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. Dr. Tipple volunteers for many organizations around the Madison area including Donated Dental, Madison Dental Initiative, and many others. Dr. Tipple is a Madison native and grew up on Jefferson Street. He actively participates in the community and spends his spare time with his wife and three kids. His father was a UW–Madison campus architect and served on the early Arboretum committees.
Alli is a long-time resident of the Madison area; she grew up in Mount Horeb and attended Edgewood High School. She received her bachelor’s degree from UW–Madison in botany in May of 2016. After college, she taught kids’ gardening education through AmeriCorps in Colorado, then returned to the Madison area to be a farm manager at a local organic vegetable farm. She currently works at a small insurance company, Wisconsin Reinsurance Corporation, but spends all her free time outside and maintains a fairly impressive apartment plant collection. One of her favorite summer activities is running on the trails in the Arboretum during the golden hour.