This year, the UW–Madison Student Employment team hosted the first annual competition for a campus Student Employee of the Year. The Arboretum nominated assistant ranger Auna Kaufmann-Schwartz—and she received second place!
Student rangers play an important role in land care, trail maintenance, field monitoring, and visitor engagement. In the nomination, Arboretum ranger Stephanie Petersen cited Auna’s natural curiosity; leadership skills; vast knowledge of Arboretum land and policies; friendly, thoughtful, and informative demeanor with visitors and staff alike; and her willingness to always learn more and expand her involvement here and in the community.
Auna has valued her ranger experience for many reasons—she made close friends, explored interests related to her job description, and gained life skills. She says, “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work at the Arboretum. I’ve learned so much and I’ve been so lucky to be surrounded and supported by a staff that is passionate about our mission.”
Outside of her official duties, Auna has gone above and beyond in her Arboretum involvement, teaching others about the world around them through volunteerism, art, and educational displays. She is a talented artist and photographer with the keen eye of a naturalist, and her paintings were on display in the Visitor Center gallery in early spring 2018. She also volunteered with Earth Focus Day Camp, the Arboretum’s summer camp, in 2017.
Stephanie wrote in the nomination that Auna “has created a positive change within the Arboretum community by sharing her knowledge and wonder for the natural world.” That change is indeed experienced by all who have worked with her. We congratulate Auna on this recognition and hope you will get a chance to meet her on the trails before she heads west to start her career in wildlife conservation.
—Susan Day, communications coordinator