MINNESOTA LANDSCAPE ARBORETUM EDUCATION DEPARTMENT

Our dedicated staff, listed below, is supported by a team of 75+ volunteers. Together, they reach more than 
60,000 people annually through education programs.


Standing, l-r: Allyson Rudy, Maria Klein, Xavier Porter, Tim Kenny, Josie Milan, Kim Braun, Diane Fiebelkorn, LaDonna Redmond, Zeta Kilbride, Christine Gamm, Karen DePratto, Susan Thurston Hamerski, Ariel Dressler, Sandy Tanck
Seated, l-r: Randy Gage, Arika Quick, Jean Larson, Tanya Bailey, Jill Leenay, Kirsten Saylor. Not pictured: Nancy Nelson

STAFF BIOS

Tim Kenny  (Tel: 612-301-3482)
Director, Arboretum Education
Statewide Director, Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program


A self-professed plant guy, Tim has woven his passion for plants into his professional life. He has a broad background in the horticulture industry and extensive experience educating learners of all ages in diverse settings: public schools, urban neighborhood gardens, and at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum since 1993.  In his current role as Director of Education, Tim leads a creative, dedicated staff of educators who help people of all ages, abilities and circumstances connect with plants through hands-on learning.

Two areas are of special interest to Tim. First, developing and delivering urban, garden-based youth programs that promote science learning, entrepreneurship, leadership development, and contributing to the common good. Second, establishing the Arboretum as a forum for issues of our time: clean water, healthy food, urban agriculture, nature-based therapeutics, climate change, sustainability, and conservation.     

Tim holds three degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, a Master of Science in Education, and a Master of Public Affairs. In 2009, he received the University of Minnesota’s Distinguished Diversity and Inclusion Staff Award by the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences for his work. In his free time, he enjoys gardening and photography.

Tanya Bailey - Animal-Assisted Interaction Program Specialist, Nature-Based Therapeutic Services (Tel: 612-301-3485)

In addition to her Arboretum role, Tanya is teaching faculty for the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing, where she co-facilitates graduate courses in AAI. Prior to joining the Arboretum in 2012, Tanya was the founder and program director for a local non-profit providing AAI in the Twin Cities. Her clinical and consultation work includes working with youth in psychiatric, residential, group homes, special education, and sobriety support settings; adults with developmental disabilities; survivors of trauma; and leadership development services.

Tanya has a broad base of professional connections in the AAI community. She is a Licensed Therapy Animal Team Evaluator with Pet Partners® and committee member for the Pet Partners Curriculum Development Team; Equine Specialist (ES) in Mental Health and Learning with PATH International; and training through Tellington-TTouch. A multi-species practitioner, Tanya works with her registered therapy chicken, Woodstock, and horses, goats, llamas, rabbits, and donkeys at program sites in the Twin Cities. She has experience as a speaker in South Korea, Brazil, Sweden, and Canada, as well as the U.S., and has authored AAI chapters in More Than a Mirror: Horses, Humans, and Therapeutic Practices; Harnessing the Power of Equine-Facilitated Counseling; Animals and the Kids Who Love Them; Horses With a Mission; and TTouch for Healthcare.

Tanya has a master's degree in Social Work from Washington University, is a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW), and in the fall of 2013, began Ph.D. studies at the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota.

Kim Braun - Children's Education Instructor, Field Trips and Summer Garden (Tel: 612-301-3480)

What started as a summer college gig in 2003, teaching urban youth hands-on plant science, has blossomed into Kim's full-time career and passion. From ketchup feet and apple pie in a cup, she discovered that connecting people with nature and watching their aha! moments is what she was meant to do.

After graduating with distinction from the University of Minnesota with B.A. in Psychology, Kim became a member of the amazing education department at the Arboretum. In her 10-plus years on staff, Kim has had the opportunity to introduce people to plants in a number of ways. She managed the urban Children's Garden in Residence program for five years and recorded the seven-week garden curriculum.

Currently, Kim is a lead instructor for field trips during the school year, delivering programs to Kindergarten-6th grade students. During the summer, she leads the summer on-site Children's Garden program at the Marion Andrus Learning Center.

Nature is a calming, rejuvenating place where wonders happen every day. Connecting kids with plants from seed to plate, experimenting with new plant varieties and recipes, and enjoying the garden from thaw to frost - all these activities renew Kim's commitment to bring plants and people together.

Karen DePratto Urban Garden Youth Employment, Leadership Team/UROC Coordinator (Tel: 612-624-4873)

For the past 14 years, Karen has been involved in the Arboretum's Urban Garden Youth Program. Starting as a youth participant, then a facilitator for youth program work groups, she is currently part of the youth leadership team.

Karen has a B.S. from the University of Minnesota and is currently working on a Master of Education degree in the Youth Development Leadership Program. She plans to graduate by Spring 2015.

Ariel Dressler - Program Manager, Family Programs (Tel: 612-301-3484)

As family programs coordinator, Ariel creates activities to help families learn about plants during their visit to the Arboretum. She joined the Arboretum Education Department in 2007 and holds a degree in Outdoor Education and Interpretation from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.

Ariel's previous experience includes the United States Botanic Garden at the U.S. Capitol Building. She was responsible for the medicinal plant collection as well as the gardens surrounding the conservatory, Bartholdi Park Gardens, and the National Garden. During her time in Washington, Ariel studied horticulture and landscape design at the Department of Agriculture Graduate School and attended training sessions at east-coast public gardens, including Longwood Gardens, the Smithsonian Institution, Atlanta Botanic Gardens, Arnold Arboretum, and Dumbarton Oaks.

Ariel has also worked as a park ranger for the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. Her postings included Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

Ariel was raised on Vashon Island, Washington and traces her love of plants and gardens to her childhood experiences. Each summer her family grew large gardens where Ariel learned how to nurture and raise plants. Inside on windowsills were plant propagation experiments, and outside in the woods were endless possibilities for imaginative play.

Ariel, her husband and two daughters garden at their home in Saint Paul.

Diane Fiebelkorn - Registrar (Tel: 612-301-1210)

Diane manages the Education Office in the Learning Center, schedules school field trips and Plantmobile visits to schools, and assists program managers in adult education, group tours, and public policy. On staff since 1999, she has a long history as an Arboretum member and volunteer.

Diane is a Master Gardener Emerita, meaning she served in this capacity for 10 years. When she is not spending time with her grandchildren, Diane takes advantage of the beautiful gardens and grounds, as well as the many learning opportunities the Arboretum offers.

Randy Gage - Learning Center Program Coordinator; Field Trips, School Partnerships, Summer Urban Garden Work Experience (Tel: 612-301-3478)

A member of the Education Department staff since 2002, Randy is committed to expanding access and building programming for underserved audiences. Much of his professional life has been devoted to creating programs that foster the human-environment connection that can take place in the garden.

Randy leads a talented team of educators and volunteers who create and deliver hands-on plant experiences. His years of service at the Arboretum include the Plantmobile, on-site field trips, the Urban Garden Youth Employment program, and the on-site Children's Garden Program.

Randy has a B.S. in Geography and Environmental Studies, an M.S. in Environmental Education, and a certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture.

Christine Gamm - Program Manager, Plantmobile And Summer Day Camps (Tel: 612-301-3483)

Christine has coordinated both the Plantmobile and the Summer Day Camps for the Arboretum since 2003. An advocate for nature-based play supporting wellness and healthy development, she spends the school year as a public ambassador for the Arboretum, bringing hands-on plant-science lessons to children in their classrooms with the Plantmobile outreach program. In summer she uses the day camps as an opportunity to ignite children's curiosity and passion for plants and the natural world. Known as the Plant Lady at schools far and wide, her enthusiasm and exuberance are contagious!

Christine also has been a regular speaker at local and national events, including American Public Gardens Association and North American Association for Environmental Education conferences. In 2006 she received a Caritas Award from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University.

Christine has a B.A. in Peace Studies and Environmental Studies from the College of Saint Benedict, and has taken additional classes and workshops through the University of Minnesota's Horticulture Department, the Permaculture Research Institute-Cold Climate, and North Carolina State University's Natural Learning Initiative.

In addition to teaching, Christine works with her family to run a small vegetable farm-share program (CSA).

Diane Greiwe - University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Center Coordinator (Tel: 612-625-9864)

Diane began working at the Arboretum in April 2014. She serves as the main contact for Master Gardener unit leaders, providing support with volunteer systems and processes. The Extension Master Gardener program currently has over 2,200 active volunteers statewide, whose work benefits schools, community gardens, youth programs, environmental education programs, farmers markets and more.

Before joining the Master Gardener program, Diane worked at Binghamton University SUNY in Communications and Marketing. She served as Advocacy Communications Specialist, helping to build an advocacy network of more than 10,000 volunteer advocates. Preceding her stint in higher education, she had a 15-year career in advertising, working on national consumer brand accounts. Diane is a member of the Minnesota Association of Volunteer Administrators (MAVA).

If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener, visit the Extersion Master Gardener website.

Susan Thurston Hamerski - Manager of Adult Education (Tel: 612-301-1946)

Susan Thurston Hamerski grew up on her family farm in south-central Minnesota, where she cared for the chickens, walked the bean fields to clear them of weeds, and worked two large vegetable gardens from sowing to preservation. Her connection with nature continued in her first position out of college as a journalist working for an agricultural publication. Advocating for life-long learning and creating ways for others to explore the wonders of our world has taken Susan through professional years as a communicator. She has held positions in public relations, education, program development, and corporate foundation relations in institutions of higher learning, including St. Olaf College, Carleton College, and the University of Minnesota's College of Continuing Education.

Susan came to the Arboretum in the summer of 2010 as manager of adult education and curator of sculpture. She brings together her substantial background in creating engaging life-long learning experiences, a love of the land, and her commitment to advancing sustainable and earth-friendly ways to live in our beautiful world. She earned a bachelor's degree in 1980 from Mankato State University and a master's degree from Hamline University in 1988.

Zeta Kilbride - Youth Educator (Tel: 612-301-3479)

Zeta came to work for the Arboretum in 2011 from an education background. She leads field trips both on site at the Arboretum and at area elementary schools with the Plantmobile. She is also involved with coordinating and leading groups for the summertime Urban Garden Youth Employment program, and Guided Adventures summer field trips.

Zeta believes strongly in the need to foster respect for our Earth, wonder at the natural world, and a scientific inquisitiveness in our youth. The science-based plant education programs at the Arboretum are fantastic at doing just that, so working in the Education Department seemed like a natural fit for Zeta, bringing her interests together in her work.

Zeta holds an Elementary Education teaching license in the state of Minnesota and has completed graduate studies in Multiple-Subject Education at San Francisco State University. She believes that getting outside to play is healthy for anyone at any age, and does it as much as possible.

Maria Klein - Communications Specialist (Tel: 952-210-0004)

Maria came to the Arboretum with a professional background in writing and editing for metro-area non-profits, with an emphasis on the arts and art education - but has now found her true calling in the garden. From 1994-2008 she produced the Arboretum's bi-monthly membership newsletter, annual reports and other program-support documents. She also curated art exhibits in the Reedy Gallery from 2005-2009. She now provides communications support primarily for public policy programs and continuing adult education.

Dedicated to community service, Maria has worked with organizations like the Minneapolis Arts Commission, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota Alliance for Arts in Education, and local public schools. She has a B.A. in psychology and speaks French and Italian. Currently, she volunteers for Metro Blooms when she's not stitching, reading, tending the garden, or traveling to visit her grandchildren.

Jean Larson - Manager, Nature-Based Therapeutic Services (NBT) (Tel: 612-301-3485)

Jean is an assistant professor and lead faculty in Nature-Based Therapeutics at the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing, as well as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and Registered Horticultural Therapist. She has a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Minnesota, where she received a certificate in Disability Services and Administration from the University's Institute on Community Integration. Jean's work has taken her around the world as teacher, consultant and lecturer.

Jill Leenay - Business Manager, Arboretum Education Department (Tel: 612-301-3484)

Jill joined the Arboterum Education team in 2012. She holds a B.A. from the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she developed a love of the great outdoors. Jill assists Arboretum pogram managers in the creation and marketing of successful programs. Her previous professional experience at corporations such as Disney and Marriott help to shape her focus on excellence through customer satisfaction. She is thrilled to be among a staff whose focus is to increase awareness of the powerful connections between people and plants.

Josie Milan - Adult Education Registrar (Tel: 612-301-1206)

Exploring nature has been a favorite pastime of Josie's as far back as she can remember. While following her husband during his 20-year military career, she enjoyed discovering the local flora and fauna of the places they lived and traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe. At the Arboretum since 2009, Josie oversees adult education registrations and coordinates adult group tours.

Josie's initial college studies were concentrated in horticulture and elementary education. She is currently working on a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Minnesota with a focus in Nature-Based Therapeutics and Whole-Systems Healing. She takes pleasure in watching the wildlife in her own backyard as she studies. In her spare time, she likes to garden, spend time with friends and family, and travel.

David Moen - State Extension Master Gardener Program Manager (Tel: 612.625-9864)

David Moen has served as Master Gardener state program manager for eight years and continues in that role in an exciting new partnership between the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and University of Minnesota Extension. As state program manager he provides leadership for volunteer and program management support for the state office and for local Extension Master Gardener program units statewide.

David has a strong horticulture background: He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in horticulture science from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He worked in the nursery and greenhouse industry for several years before joining Extension as an educator in both horticulture and youth development. His career has included management of volunteers in both government and nonprofit sectors. As a program manager for a Minneapolis nonprofit, he received national recognition for a program to increase corporate volunteer involvement with Minneapolis schools. He describes his career as one of "growing plants and growing people."

Nancy Nelson - Children's Education Instructor - Field Trips, Summer Garden, and Peapods Program (Tel: 612-301-1210)

The thread of working with and teaching children weaves together Nancy's professional experiences, which began with developing education programs for special-needs children. Nancy believes that children's development is maximized when the wonders of nature are part of their every day. Natural-world education and free play offer opportunities for development socially, emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually.

Nancy's love of nature moved her into the realm of environmental education, conducting school field trips and developing curriculum in a nature center. This interest in nature inspired her to become a member, then chair, of a local parks and recreation commission. Following this experience, she pursued a degree in urban planning, but the pull of hands-on work with children, fostering a love for the natural world, lured her back into teaching. She has been providing plant and nature experiences for children at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum since 2006.

Nancy has a bachelor's degree in Music Therapy from the University of Minnesota and a master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Xavier Porter - Instructor, Field Trips and Urban Garden Programs

Xavier has been involved with the Arboretum since 1996, when he began attending the Children's Garden, and has grown up with the Arboretum's Urban Agriculture program. When Xavier aged out of the Children's Garden program, he received his first employment opportunity as a CityFresh Veggies team member. Making connections with the community, sharing his knowledge, a hard-work ethic, and sense of commitment were at the forefront of Xavier's early career.

After CityFresh, Xavier became a teacher's aide, working alongside Kimberly Braun in the Urban Garden program, educating K - 5th grade students on gardening and the science behind plants. Ultimately, Xavier became a full-fledged instructor in the Children's Garden program, working with youth throughout the Minneapolis and St. Paul area.

Using their experience in the Urban Garden programs, Xavier and fellow past participants designed the first Youth Voices Conference. The Youth Voices Conferences provide a platform for youth in urban garden-based programs across the U.S. to share their collective knowledge and ideas for improving garden based programs.

In the summer of 2013, Xavier was involved in the Smart Snacks program, working with a team who installed pop-up gardens at various non-profit organizations throughout Minneapolis. The team promoted healthy foods for people and pollinators with demonstrations, educational pieces, and hands-on learning.

Arika Quick Volunteer Center Manager (Tel: 612-301-1203)

Arika began working for the Arboretum in 1996 as a youth employed through the urban outreach programs offered by the Education Department in Minneapolis. She worked seasonally for about 10 summers, eventually working her way up to Children's Garden Teacher. She later helped supervise and teach teens in the Urban Garden Youth Employment program.

In late 2009, Arika became the manager of the Arboretum's Volunteer Center, where her focus is helping engage community groups, corporations and individuals with volunteer opportunities that enable the Arboretum to fulfill its mission and programming needs. Currently the Arboretum has more than 800 volunteers, who play an integral role in maintaining the beauty of the Arboretum and its gardens and in upholding the success of its many programs and events.

During her years with the Arboretum outreach programs, Arika completed a B.F.A. in Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, with a minor in German, from the University of Minnesota (2005). She earned a certificate in volunteer leadership in 2010 and is currently working toward a graduate certificate in non-profit management and leadership at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Arika is a member of the Minnesota Association of Volunteer Administrators (MAVA).

If you are interested in becoming a Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Volunteer please click here

LaDonna Sanders Redmond - Community Outreach Liaison

In her role as community liaison, LaDonna is responsible for engaging community residents, local partners and organizations to participate in activities, programming, and special initiatives of the Education Department.

In 2009, LaDonna was one of 25 citizen and business leaders named a Responsibility Pioneer by Time Magazine. LaDonna was also a 2003-2005 IATP Food and Society Fellow. In 2007, she was awarded a Green For All Fellowship. LaDonna attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

In September 2013, LaDonna reviewed a media fellowship from the Twin Cities Daily Planet, an online news publication. LaDonna articles can be found on her Urban Food Goddess blog at www.ladonnaredmond.wordpress.com.

Andrea Rice - Education Specialist (Tel: 240-285-4999)

"There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer" - Ansel Adams

Andrea will be working for the Arboretum as well as the University of Minnesota Extension to capture and produce multimedia (photographs, video, and graphic arts) to deliver gardening curriculum as a part of the Education Center's Continuum of Learning. Andrea cultivated her artistic talent as well as her love for agriculture while growing up in Maryland. A former 4-H youth and FFA member, she enjoys sharing her passion for agriculture with others. For the past couple of years, Andrea served University of Maryland Extension as a 4-H educator, and the coordinator for the Maryland Beginning Farmer Success Project.

Andrea earned her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Agriculture from West Virginia University. She enjoys spending time with her husband and horse, as well as volunteering with youth programs focusing on equine education.

Allyson Rudy - Adult Education Team Member (Tel: 612-301-1210)

Allyson joined the Arboretum's adult education team in 2008 and coordinates the Culinary Programs, such as Dinner with the Chef and Saturdays in the Kitchen.

Allyson has more than 24 years of experience creating educational and enriching programs for adults. As a community educator with metro-area school districts, she planned classes spanning a wide variety of subjects. Allyson has a B.S., Cum Laude, in Psychology from Alfred University in New York.

Allyson believes that nature is wise and healing through its diverse beauty, flow of the river, life cycles, symbiotic relationships, darkness and light - and the Arboretum is a beautiful resource for learning from nature. Her favorite pastimes include: a picnic anywhere, anytime; a gathering by the fireplace with friends, family and tasty food; gardening; pottery; playing Scrabble, Dictionary or almost any game other than Trivial Pursuit; walking around the neighborhood when neighbors are out and about.

Kirsten Saylor, Coordinator, Schoolyard Gardens Conference (Tel: 612-968-3678)

Passion for improving people's quality of life brought Kirsten to plants. After working for two years in child welfare, she explored how healing the earth could include healing ourselves. She studied sustainable agriculture, then worked for the USDA-SARE's outreach arm, Sustainable Agriculture Network. In 2003, she earned a master's degree in Applied Anthropology from Oregon State University, focused on food and farming systems.

Soon thereafter, Kirsten returned to her hometown, Minneapolis, where she conducted an collaborative assessment of community gardens. This led to the founding of Gardening Matters, an organization that promotes community gardens, backyard gardening and provides training and networking opportunities for gardeners. In 2013, Kirsten left Gardening Matters to spend more time with her young children. Her passion for youth gardening only grew stronger, and in the fall of 2013 joined the Arboretum's Education Department as coordinator of the Schoolyard Gardens Conference (February 2014).

Sandy Tanck - Manager of Interpretation & Public Programs (Tel: 612-301-3481)

Above all, Sandy seeks to create ways for people to feel and grow their ties with plants and the natural world - through educational programming, exhibits, facilities, outdoor spaces, signage and other types of interpretation. She is grateful for opportunities to have developed all of these at the Arboretum. She believes bonds with nature are key for human well-being, and a needed foundation for facing and solving environmental issues.

Sandy holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture and a Master of Science in Horticultural Science, minor in Science Education. Away from work, she loves to create things with her hands, including rustic furniture, felting, sewing, cooking, gardening and writing.

Leslie Yetka - Education Manager & Extension Educator - Horticulture (Tel: 612-301-3926)

For the past twenty years, Leslie has focused her work on plants, native plant communities, habitat restoration, sustainable landscape practices, and water resource management and protection. She has worked primarily for local government, managing upland and water resources, and promoting the use of green infrastructure (plants and soil) over grey infrastructure (concrete) to protect our environment. For the past several years, she has been developing and implementing education programs on topics related to sustainable landscape practices and clean water at multiple scales (residential to city-wide) for a variety of audiences, including citizens, community groups, technical/industry professionals, municipal staff, and local decision-makers. At the Arboretum, Leslie is managing education programming and developing new education opportunities related to horticulture, with a focus on the idea that healthy plants are a critical piece of our green infrastructure, and necessary for maintaining healthy soil, clean water, healthy landscapes, greener communities, and ultimately a healthier planet.

Leslie has a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Macalester College, and a Master's Degree in Horticulture with a minor in Water Resources Science from the University of Minnesota. She likes to spend her free time with her husband and kids...and their poodle Gibson...enjoying the outdoors in Minnesota as well as the beautiful (and wild!) mountains of Montana.