Arboretum Committee Members
Kris Ackerbauer came to UW Physical Plant after a career of 28 years in the US Navy.
He was a Bombardier/Navigator with over 3000 hours in A-6 Intruders. His last major command was Commanding Officer of Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, an advanced jet training base for Naval Aviators . His final duty station was Commanding Officer and Professor of Naval Science at UW Madison. Immediately following his retirement from the Navy he joined the UW Physical Plant as the Assistant Director. His responsibilities include the supervision and management of about 500 employees in 4 departments; Custodial, Grounds, Waste and Recycle, Campus Services (which includes Truck Service and Campus Mail). Kris has been active in MAPPA hosting the 2001 and 2008 conferences in Madison and then as a Secretary of MAPPA. He is married to Denine and they have two children. Brett is a Captain in USMC currently flying AV-8B Harriers and Kimberly is a Clinical Pharmacist in a Cardiac Critical Care unit in Baystate Hospital in Springfield, MA. Both were proud UW Badgers.
Jean Bahr is Professor of hydrogeology in the Department of Geoscience at UW Madison, where she has been a faculty member since 1987. Her research interests include physical, chemical and microbial processes that control the movement of water and contaminants in groundwater systems. She received her from Yale and her MS and PhD from Stanford. In addition to her appointment in Geoscience, a department she chaired from 2005-2008, she is also a member of the Nelson Institute’s Water Resources Management Program and the Geological Engineering Program. In 2009-2010 she served as President of the Geological Society of America.
Gary A. Brown, FASLA has been with the University of Wisconsin for over 26 years. After serving for 15 years with the UW System as a landscape architect and facilities planner, his travels around the state’s 26-campus system brought him back to UW-Madison. He now serves as the director of Campus Planning and Landscape Architecture in the Division of Facilities Planning & Management, overseeing the development and implementation of the 20-year campus master plan. He also serves as the university’s historic preservation officer, environmental affairs officer and is the newly appointed director of the university’s Lakeshore Nature Preserve. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from UW-Madison and was inducted as a Fellow with the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2004 for his administrative works.
Jim Burt is Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he teaches courses in physical geography, spatial analysis and geocomputing. He holds a B.S. from Northern Arizona University (Geography and Math) and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Geography from UCLA. He was an assistant professor at the University of Illinois before coming to Madison in 1983. Most of his research in the last decade has revolved around topics related to predictive resource modeling using expert systems, data mining and other computer technologies. He enjoys teaching at all levels and developing 3-d animations and simulations for instruction. He is co-author of two long-running textbooks, Understanding Weather and Climate (Pearson Education) and Elementary Statistics in Geography (Guilford Press).
Dr. Ken Cameron is a Professor within the UW-Madison Department of Botany and Director of the Wisconsin State Herbarium, which is one of the largest botanical collections in North America. His research includes the use of molecular data to address questions of flowering plant evolution, classification, taxonomy, distribution, and conservation. In particular he is recognized as a leading authority on the systematics of the orchid family, especially Vanilla, Pogonia, and their relatives. Dr. Cameron earned his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1996, was a curator at the New York Botanical Garden for nearly ten years, and in 2008 joined the UW faculty.
David Drake is an extension wildlife specialist and associate professor in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He completed his Ph. D. in Forestry at North Carolina State University, received a Master’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. David’s research interests include the human impact on wildlife, wildlife management on private lands, wildlife damage management, suburban/urban wildlife, and wildlife policy.
Patty Loew is a professor in the University of Wisconsin Department of Life Sciences Communication as well as a producer for Wisconsin Public Television. She hosts “In Wisconsin,” WPT's weekly news and public affairs news-magazine program that spotlights intriguing stories about people, places and issues distinctly Wisconsin. Patty previously co-hosted WPT's award-winning WeekEnd program that aired statewide for 10 years. She has worked as a news anchor and reporter for Madison's WKOW-TV where she did environmental reporting, documentary production, public speaking and special projects. Patty also was a feature reporter at KATU-TV in Portland, Ore. She co-hosted PM Magazine in Spokane, Wash., and was a news anchor and reporter for WXOW-TV and WKTY-AM and WSPL-FM radio in La Crosse. A member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, Patty is an award-winning author of Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal, Native People of Wisconsin, and documentary, “Way of the Warrior.” Her freelance feature articles and guest columns have appeared in The Capital Times, Madison Magazine and the Wisconsin State Journal. The many awards for her work include a Media Excellence Award, several Best of Madison awards, an Orchid Award, the Writer's Cup Award and the Portland Mayor's Award.
Richard Straub, Chair
Richard Straub, Professor and Chair, Biological Systems Engineering, and Director Animal Programs, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin Madison. Dr. Straub has held various administrative roles including overseeing Hatch and other programs related to agricultural and environmental issues. His research interests include forage harvesting technology and post-harvest processing of agricultural crops/materials. He serves as chair of the Arboretum Committee.
Tami Van Galder Patel - Ex officio
Tami is the President of the Board of the Friends of Arboretum and is serving her second term on the Board. Last year Tami spearheaded the development of a new Friends’ fundraising and community outreach event, the Spring Sprint for the Arb. Tami attended Bradley University where she played basketball and graduated with a B.A. in Economics. After graduating from Bradley, Tami moved to Madison and worked as an economic consultant at Christensen Associates until she began graduate school. After receiving her J.D. from UW-Madison and an M.P.A. from the La Follette Institute of Public Affairs, Tami practiced tax law at Sidley & Austin LLP in Chicago. Tami's practice focused on the tax-aspects of mergers and acquisitions, partnership formations, and financings. In addition, she aided nonprofit entities in obtaining and maintaining tax-exempt status. Later, Tami returned to Madison to practice general corporate and tax law at Reinhart Boerner & Van Deuren SC. Tami is now enjoying staying at home with her two young girls.
Joy Zedler- Ex officio
Joy Zedler is the Aldo Leopold Professor of Restoration Ecology at the University of Wisconsin (Arboretum and Botany Department, 1998-present). Her research focuses on wetland ecology and restoration. She pioneered the "adaptive restoration" approach (phased efforts that allow "learning while restoring") in southern California salt marshes. Current research at the Arboretum involves (1) developing the tussock sedge (Carex strita) as a multi-functional native plant for wetland restoration; (2) testing biodiversity-function theory in multiple restoration projects; and (3) testing the functioning of native wetland plants in novel environments. As the Arboretum Research Director, she integrates education, land care and research efforts by involving dozens of UW students in field experimentation, including salt marsh restoration at Tijuana Estuary.