Arboretum Education Dept. Oct. 31 2014

Arboretum Education Department Staff Retreat, November 2016
First Row seated, 
Andrea Rice, Ping Honzay, Jill Leenay, Jean Larson Second Row seated, l-r: Carrie Stowers, Diane Griewe, Josie Milan, Randy Gage, Wendy DePaolis Third Row standing, l-r,Karen DePrattoDiane Fiebelkorn, Mindy Zittel, Jackie Froemming, Top Rows standing, l-r, Melinda Hooker, Dalicia Davis, Tim Kenny, Eleta Donaldson, Laura Vogel, Kim Carrier, Allyson Rudy, Lindsey Zemanek, Sandy Tanck, Malia Brandt, Katherine Sandum, Xavier Porter, Ariel Dressler Not pictured: LaDonna Redmond


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.

Kimberly Carrier - Volunteer Programs Coordinator (Tel: 612-301-1203)
As the founder of People & Pets Together and 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.

As with any new non-profit venture, it took an army of volunteers to build up People & Pets Together. Kim led that charge successfully, and in late fall of 2015, People & Pets Together opened Minnesota's first pet food shelf. As they have since 2009, they will continue to supply Metro area food shelves with pet food, host subsidized vaccination clinics, and provide grants for veterinary care. They were also an essential component to disaster relief after the 2011 tornado in North Minneapolis.

Kim sits on the board of People & Pets Together (PPT), the Minnesota Animal Disaster Coalition (MN
ADC), and is a member of Minnesota Partners for Animal Welfare (MN PAW), and recent member of the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA).

Wendy DePaolis - Curator of Art and Sculpture, Fine Arts Education Programmer (Tel: 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 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.

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.

Ariel Dressler - Program Manager, Family Programs 
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.

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.

Jean Larson - Manager, Nature-Based Therapeutic Services (NBT) (Tel: 612-301-3485)
Dr. Larson started the Nature-Based Therapeutic Services for the University of Minnesota in 1992.  She has a split appointment between the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the Center for Spirituality and Healing.  She leads a staff of nine (full and part-time) to develop and implement Nature-Based Therapeutic programs throughout the Twin Cities.  You can find the Nature-Based Therapeutic programs at 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, wellbeing. 

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 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Carrie Stowers -  Communications Specialist (Tel 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. Almost twenty years ago, she left the horse farm where she was raised and moved to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota. 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.

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.

Laura Vogel - Adult Education Programs Manager (Tel: 612-301-3483)
As Adult Education Programs Manager, Laura oversees programs of all kinds: gardening, photography, culinary and more. She also manages the Tram and works on the many summits, symposia and conferences held by the Arboretum.

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. 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.

Mindy Zittel - Children's Education Program Associate (Tel: 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.