Arboretum Education Dept. Oct. 31 2014

Arboretum Education Department Staff Retreat, November 2018


Tim Kenny
Director, Arboretum Education
Statewide Director, Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program
612-301-3482 •
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 roles as Director of Arboretum Education and Statewide Director of the Extension Master Gardener Program, 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 and sustaining the Arboretum and the Master Gardener Program as trusted sources of research based experiences about issues of our time that relate to gardening and growing plants: clean water, healthy food, urban agriculture, nature-based therapeutics, climate change, pollinators, biodiversity, 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.

Malia Brandt
Plantmobile and Day Camp Coordinator
Malia joined the Arboretum staff in 2015, thrilled to join her passion for teaching with her love of nature. During the school year she can be found driving around town in the Plantmobile, bringing the joy of plants and hands-on science to early elementary classrooms throughout the metro. In the summer, she wears a lot of different hats (literally) as the Day Camp program coordinator; always looking for fun new ways to get kids interested in science, connected to the natural world, and excited to spend time outdoors.
Before coming to the Arboretum, her degrees in Biology and Science Education, master's classes in Outdoor Teacher Education and certificates in Montessori teaching and dyslexic reading instruction, allowed her the opportunity to work with kiddos in a wide variety of formal and informal settings.

Jan Calos
Visitor Information - Bee Center
Since May of 2018, Jan is a weekend visitor information staff member at the Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Discovery Center. After a busy career as an international NGO director, attorney, and public health nurse, she enjoys the serenity of the gentle bee and butterfly pollinators. She also enjoys interacting with the families who are excited to learn about these amazing creatures.

Kimberly Carrier 
Volunteer Programs Coordinator 
612-301-1203 •
As the founder of People & Pets Together and former owner of Hairesy Salon, Kim has extensive experience in all aspects of volunteer services and brings a new level of customer focus to her position at the Arboretum.
Kim enjoys working closely with staff across the Arboretum to achieve goals and bring vision to life. Engaging volunteers is they key to our success in many of our programs. Building relationship and advocating for volunteers are two of her strengths.
Since starting at the Arboretum in 2015, Kim has joined the UMN Diversity Community of Practice, has completed several courses around diversity and equity, achieved certification of MAVA's leadership training series, and continues to promote inclusive practices within our campus.
In her personal time, she focuses on social justice, animal welfare, reading, writing, and artistic endeavors.

Dalicia Davis
Program/Project Specialist

(612) 624-4541 •
Dalicia began her journey with the Arboretum and University of MN at the age of 11 as a member of the original group of City Fresh Produce gardeners--now known as Growing Good. Her current title is Program/Project Specialist, and she is a split employee who works with both the Extension Master Gardener Program and Arboretum Volunteer Program, helping to manage many of the policies, projects and events that involve each program. Dalicia holds a Liberal Arts degree, is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in communication studies. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her son and family.

Wendy DePaolis
Curator of Art and Sculpture, Fine Arts Education Programmer
612-301-1873 •
Bringing together art and nature in a professional capacity is a dream come true. Wendy grew up in Wilmington, Delaware with Longwood Gardens as a nearby playground. With a Bachelors of Science in Education and Masters in Art History, Wendy has been able to fuse these passions to make art accessible to all people. In her current role as Curator of Art and Sculpture she is responsible for educating through fine art classes, conducting tours throughout the Arboretum grounds, curating exhibitions and developing programs that work to bring the joy and understanding of art to all of our visitors.
Wendy and her husband John have three adult children and spend much time travelling and enjoying outdoor beauty through recreational activities .

Karen DePratto
Urban Garden Manager

612-624-4873 •
From a youth participant, to a youth facilitator. For the past 16 years, Karen has worked in the Arboretum's Growing Good Youth Program. Karen is a highly devoted youth worker. She takes pride in, helping youth foster a sense of self, building on their prior knowledge and experiences, and incorporating youth voice into program planning and implementation. She does this by, creating positive, meaningful experiences for youth participants.
She has a B.A. in Sociology (Law, Crime, Deviance) and a Masters of Education (Youth Development Leadership). Outside of work, she enjoys spending her time with her spouse, and going on "new" adventures with her two young children.

Eleta Donaldson
Early Childhood Education Coordinator, PeaPods for Preschoolers

Working with young children has been a lifelong vocation for Eleta, and she has lent her expertise to the Arboretum for over 13 years. Eleta has a degree in Elementary Education from the College of St. Benedict and has an Early Childhood Certification from Crown College. She started out as a first grade teacher and then transitioned into a position as a sales representative for a local communication company. After ten years as a sales representative, she made the decision to go back to school to get her certification in Early Childhood Education. She worked as the director and lead teacher for Little Angels Preschool for fifteen years before joining the staff at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
Eleta is a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer and is a member of the Superior Hiking Trail Association. She likes living an active life style and enjoys nature through the silent sports.

Diane Fiebelkorn
Education Office Registrar

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.

Jackie Froemming
Extension Educator - Horticulture | Master Gardener Volunteer Program

218-828-2323 •
As part of the the State Leadership Team of the U of M Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program, Jackie is tasked with creating and providing resources for the more than 2,300 Master Gardeners across the state. She is creating tools that Master Gardener groups will use to structure their groups; tools to convey public value, and systems for marketing programs and supplies. Jackie's work also includes building program capacity to reach diverse, under-served, and youth groups across the State of Minnesota; and to build leadership capacity with both current and future local coordinators across the state.

Randy Gage
Learning Center Program Coordinator; Field Trips, School Partnerships, Summer Urban Garden Work Experience

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.

Diane Greiwe
University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Center Coordinator

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 Hickey
Education Registrar Office Lead

612-301-1206 •
Susan joined the Education Registrar's Office in 2017. Prior to coming to the Arboretum, Susan spent 30+ years in the travel industry as manager/travel consultant at a boutique travel agency. She is excited to be using her experience to help support the education programs at the Arboretum.
Susan has a B.A. for St. Olaf College in Northfield where she developed her love of choral music in her free time she sings with two choirs. Her other pastimes include attending sporting events, spending weekends at the family cabin, tending to her garden or just reading a good book.

Ping Honzay
Bee and Pollinator Center Education Program Coordinator • 612-301-3499
Ping joined the Arboretum in 2016 as an educator at the newly opened Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Discovery Center, developing and delivering education programs for the Center. She is thrilled for the opportunity to share her passion for bees and the natural world with students and visitors. Prior to the Arboretum, Ping worked at the American Horticultural Society outside of Washington, DC, coordinating garden programs such as the AHS's National Children & Youth Garden Symposium. She has an MS in Natural Resources with a focus in Environmental Education, and a BS in Zoology. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, reading, and tending to her own bees.

Jean Larson
Manager, Nature-Based Therapeutic Services (NBT)
612-301-3485 •
Dr. Larson started the Nature-Based Therapeutic Services for the University of Minnesota in 1992. She shares her appointment with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the Center for Spirituality and Healing. She leads team of full and part-time staff to develop and implement Nature-Based Therapeutic programs throughout the Twin Cities -- such as, the Struther's Parkinson Center, The Melrose Institute, Living Well with Disabilities, Touchstone Mental Health, Choice, Inc. and other locations. Larson is an assistant professor and lead faculty with a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Minnesota, where she received a certificate in Disability Services and Administration. She is also a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and Registered Horticultural Therapist. Jean's work has taken her around the world as teacher, consultant and lecturer. Dr. Larson believes a (re)connection to the healing power of plants, animals and nature are key to human health and wellbeing.

Jill Leenay
Business Manager, Arboretum Education Department

612-301-3484 •
Jill joined the Arboretum 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 program 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.

Reba Luiken
Coordinator of Informal Interpretation
Reba joined the Education Department at the Arboretum in 2018 as the coordinator of informal interpretation. However, born and raised in Minnesota, her first memory of the Arboretum is from childhood, when she was captivated by a summer special exhibit with treehouses and the amazing ways in which public gardens can connect with people on multiple levels.

Since then, she's been a long-term student at the University of Minnesota, where she's received a B.S. in Plant Biology (Suma Cum Laude), B.A. in Religious Studies (High Honors), and M.A. in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine with a minor in Museum Studies and a focus on public gardens. She is currently working on a Ph.D. dissertation about the history of community horticulture programs at botanical gardens in the U.S.

In the meantime, she has also worked at a number of biological field stations, museums, and public gardens including Longwood Gardens, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, the Biological Sciences Conservatory at the University of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Historical Society. At each, her work has centered at the intersection of plants, environmental history, and public communication of science.

Christy Marsden
Master Gardener Extension Educator and Education Manager

612-301-3926 •
Christy Marsden is a member of the State Leadership Team with the U of M Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program. As the Education Manager, Christy oversees Master Gardener Volunteer training and education statewide through the Core Course, volunteer toolkits, and other outreach methods. Christy also works with the Arboretum Education team to build adult education programs online and in conjunction with the Master Gardener Volunteer program. Before working with the Landscape Arboretum, Christy was a county-based Horticulture Educator with the University of Wisconsin Extension in Rock County. Christy has a BS in Human Development and MS in Horticulture and Agronomy from the University of California, Davis. As a native of California she's learned to love the seasons, especially amongst the trees.

Xavier Porter
Education Program Associate

612-301-1098 •
Xavier has been involved with the Arboretum's Growing Good Youth Program since 1996. As a child participant, Xavier engaged in planting a garden, learning about decomposers, and making tasty garden snacks. Now in his role as an educator, Xavier connects young people and community organizations to plants. Facilitates seasonal field trips as part of the School Services team, travels to schools with Plantmobile programs and is part of the Growing Good Leadership team. Xavier holds a Bachelors of Science from the University of Minnesota and is pursuing a Masters in Evaluation.

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

Allyson Rudy
Education Office Team Member

612-301-1210 •
Allyson joined the Arboretum's Adult Education Team in 2008 creating Culinary Programs such as Dinner with the Chef, Saturdays in the Kitchen, Beer & Bites. In 2014 Allyson passed the whisk wand over to colleague Laura Vogel. Now Allyson is part of the Education Department's Front Office Team and is the restaurant and chef recruiter for the Arboretum's Annual Taste & Toast in the Gardens fundraiser.
Allyson has a B.S./Cum Laude, in Psychology from Alfred University in upstate New York.
Allyson believes that nature is wise and healing through its diverse beauty, flow of the river, seasonal 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 or Dictionary or almost any game other than Trivial Pursuit; walking around the neighborhood when neighbors are out and about.

Carrie Stowers
Communications Specialist

612-889-8432 •
Carrie is currently the Education Department's Communications Specialist for Public Policy Programs and the Minnesota Schoolyard Garden Conference. She provides design, development and production support through communications in the Public Policy programs and serves as the co-chair for the annual Schoolyard Garden Conference which takes place at the Arboretum every spring. After receiving her BA in Theater and MA in Strategic Communications, she worked in corporate and higher education communications, writing and creating marketing strategies. Prior to the Arboretum she was the web and marketing coordinator for the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and has served on the University of Minnesota Alumni Association Marketing Committee and was a member of the Twin Cities Communications Council.

Zan Tomko
Education Assistant, Family Programs

Zan is education assistants who helps design, develop and deliver horticulture activities for visitors to the Arboretum. She joined the Arboretum Education Department in 2015.
Always balancing between art and horticulture, Zan taught computer graphic design at Illinois Central College, Peoria High School and American Indian OIC. Previously, she was a program manager in horticulture and conservation for Fon du lac Park district in East Peoria, IL, where she promoted U of I Master Gardener & Junior Master Gardener programs. Before that she was a staff photographer & editor at State Farm Insurance, Illinois Farm Bureau and Illinois Audubon Magazine.
She has a bachelor's degree in K-12 Art Education from Eastern Illinois University and a Masters in Fine Arts Photography from Illinois State. She has MN teaching license, Master Gardener's designation from Purdue and University of IL and is currently a horticulture student at Hennepin Technical College.
Zan has two daughters and five grandchildren and lives in St. Louis Park.

Sandy Tanck
Manager of Interpretation & Public Programs

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 developing educational programming, exhibits, facilities, outdoor spaces, signage and other forms of interpretation. She is grateful for opportunities to have created all of these at the Arboretum. She believes regular experiences of our human bonds with nature are key for our well-being, and a critical foundation for facing and solving our many environmental challenges. 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 travel and to work with her hands, including felting, cooking, gardening, rustic furniture making and writing.

Laura Vogel
Adult Education Programs Manager

612-301-3483 •
As Adult Education Programs Manager, Laura connects adults to their natural world, and strives to connect public horticulture to issues of environmental, food, and social justice. This is achieved through programs, workshops, walks, and summits in gardening, photography, culinary topics and more.
Laura started her path in horticulture with 4-H and landscaping her parents' backyard. She has a B.S. in Public Horticulture from Purdue University and an M.S. in Public Horticulture Management from the University of Delaware and Longwood Gardens. Professionally, Laura has been part of the education staff at Missouri Botanical Garden, Longwood Gardens, and Brookside Gardens. In her free time, Laura tries to keep up with twin toddlers and squeezes in vegetable gardening and cooking on the side.

Ian Williams
Education Program Associate

612-301- 3480 •
Ian has two main teaching responsibilities throughout the year. During the school year he is the lead instructor for on-site field trips. In the summer months, he coordinates the Children's Garden program. Prior to his time at the Arboretum Ian worked with a wide variety of youth at different developmental levels, ranging in age from 2-17 years old. He is thrilled to be teaching
children in an outdoor setting, and working with an excellent group of professionals as a member of the School Services Team within the Arboretum's education department. Ian completed his B.A. in 2011 with a double major in Psychology and Community Arts.
Outside the Arboretum Ian blends his passions of: the natural world, regenerative living, permaculture, spiritual ecology, and education, into a lifestyle that is sustainable. He is thankful to have grown up in a family that cultivated a reverence for the outdoors and believes it is imperative to connect today's youth with the natural world.

Mindy Zittel
Children's Education Program Associate

612-301-3479 •
Before joining the Education staff in the summer of 2015 Mindy spent the last 10+ years designing functional and aesthetically pleasing residential landscapes in the twin cities.
Mindy is an educator with School services team leading various seasonal field trips, travels with the Plantmobile program and is part of the Urban Garden leadership team. She enjoys sharing her lifelong passion for plants with students.
She has a B.A. in German studies and a Masters of Landscape Architecture. Outside of her professional life she spends her time with her husband and son, along with collecting new plants for her garden, reading and enjoying the MN seasons.

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