Board of Visitors


Stephen Balsley

As a long standing member of the bicycle industry (name the job and he’s done it for either Pacific Cycle, Cycling Sports Group or Saris), Stephen gets to enjoy the Arboretum at all times of the year as a commuter, hiker, jogger, and nature lover. As a husband and father who lives within blocks of the Arboretum, he understands the amazing resource that are available for our families, our community, and our environment. Stephen even prides himself for riding his bike through the Arboretum no less than 80,000 times since he moved to Madison in 2001.


Matthew Carlson

Matt is serving his third year on the Friends of the Arboretum Board, and is a partner at the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP where he practices in the areas of real estate and land use law, including assisting individuals and non-profit entities with planning activities related to conservation easements and similar matters. Matt first fell in love with the Arboretum during his undergraduate days at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the early 1990's. After returning in the late 90's to the Madison area from law school in Boston, Matt renewed his active use of the Arboretum, where he enjoyed running, biking, hiking and skiing the many wonderful trails. Now, with two young children, the nature of Matt's "active" use of the Arboretum has changed somewhat, but he and his family remain frequent visitors who enjoy observing and identifying the myriad birds and native plant species that the Arboretum hosts in its many unique landscapes. Matt is also a member of the Downtown Madison, Inc. Board of Directors and a founding member and the current president of the Friends of Capital Springs Recreation Area, Inc. He and his wife Clare volunteered with the Spring Sprint for the Arb, hosting the 1 mile nature walk in Curtis Prairie.



Bruce Allison

R. Bruce Allison is President of Allison Tree Care, Inc. He graduated from Brown University and earned an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist, ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist and adjunct professor in the UW-Madison department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology teaching classes in non-destructive testing of trees plus sustainable forestry. His professional leadership positions have included chairman of the Wisconsin Department of Urban Forestry, president of the Wisconsin Arborists Association, Chairman of the Dane County Tree Board and served on the Friends of the Arboretum board of directors. He has authored numerous articles and books including Wisconsin Champion Trees, Every Root an Anchor and If Trees Could Talk.



Margarete Harvey

Margarete Harvey

Margarete is a recently retired landscape architect who moved from Germany to Wisconsin in 1981. She was educated at the University of Cologne, the London School of Economics and the UW-Madison. In her design practice she combined her love of people and plants with sensitivity to special populations (children, the elderly and infirm). Margarete has been actively involved in several Milwaukee-based non-profit organizations: the Art Museum Garden Club, the Urban Ecology Center, the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Park People, et al. Currently she is president of the Friends of Villa Terrace and president-elect of the Friends of Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.


Richard Straud

Richard Straub

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 also serves as chair of the Arboretum Committee.


Richard Straud

Skip Heffernan

Skip has been President of Total Water since 1993, and currently serves as Chairman of the Board. Skip is also owner and President of Total Water of Baraboo. He has been in general management for 24 years in the water industry and 7 years previously in the construction industry. Skip has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He served 4 years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. Skip has been Head Coach of the University of Wisconsin Men’s Rugby club since 1995. He helped found Madison United Rugby (a nonprofit that supports rugby in the Madison area) and serves as its President. He served as the Small Business board member of The Employer’s Health Care Alliance for 4 years.