Benjamin Futa, Executive Director
Ben is passionate for connecting people to plants, and one other, through public gardens. With a background in landscape architecture and sustainability studies from Purdue University and Indiana University South Bend, Ben directs the operations of the Garden and its programs.
Horticulture-Moore Hall | 1575 Linden Drive | Room 480
Elin Meliska, Director of Programs and Community Engagement
Elin Meliska saw the potential to harness passion in her students for learning about the natural world through field trips and hands-on experiences while teaching in Chicago Public Schools. This inspired Elin to complete her Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education at George Washington University in Washington D.C.. Elin has extensive experience creating and facilitating programming at the Smithsonian, the National Geographic Museum, the International Spy Museum, and most recently the Madison Children’s Museum. A native Chicagoan, Elin is excited to return to the Midwest and build the education and outreach program at the Allen Centennial Garden.
Abigail Granite, Director of Development and External Relations
Abby, a Wisconsin native, graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in Community and Nonprofit Leadership through the school of Human Ecology. Abby supports the important work of the Friends of Allen Centennial Garden and the UW-Foundation to advance the mission of the Garden.
Wally Graeber , Head Gardener
The Garden's first Interpreter in Residence, Wally has a background in Landscape Architecture & Environmental Studies from UW-Madison. He has a deep passion for connecting children to the food they eat, from teaching in elementary school gardens in Washington D.C. to working on a hydroponic leafy greens farm in San Francisco, Wally believes our food system is in need of an urban overhaul.
Will Olson, Student Director of Horticulture
Will is a junior in Biomedical Engineering with an emphasis on Environmental Studies. Born in Dallas, Texas, Will has lived in Fitchburg, Wisconsin for most of his life. Will loves spending time outdoors and initiated the Apiary program at the Allen Centennial Garden in early 2016, and looks forward to continuing to develop the program, creating programs for the University and general public about the importance of pollinators. Will loves exercising and is signed up for Ironman - Wisconsin this September!
Saige Henkel, Student Director of Horticulture
Saige is from West Bend, Wisconsin and currently is studying Landscape Architecture at UW-Madison, entering her third year in the program this fall. Saige loves to travel and has been to England, Scotland, Spain, and France. Outside of work she likes to cook both for herself and with friends.
Peter Hauser, Student Director of Horticulture
Peter is from Hopkins, Minnesota, and is a junior at UW- Madison studying Horticulture. He is a big soccer fan, and loves riding his new bike. Peter was interested in the Garden after doing service learning in the fall and has returned as a Horticulture Director.
Jacqui Hilliard, Student Director of Horticulture
Jacqui is a double major in Agronomy and Horticulture and this fall will begin her fifth year at UW-Madison. She grew up in Wisconsin Dells surrounded by agriculture, and after graduation she hopes to continue in the field. During school, Jacqui stays busy with the UW Marching Band, Collegiate FFA, and the Horticulture Society.
Thi Le, Student Director of Horticulture
Thi is a senior in Horticulture and Environmental Studies, President of the UW-Madison Society of Horticulture, Community Environmental Scholars Program (CESP) scholar, and McNair Scholar Program scholar. In short, she loves plants and the environment. Thi is most interested in how people interact with and influence the environment, with lifelong plans to protect and conserve the planet. Food and health are major areas of interest, and she enjoys exploring ideas of off-grid living and environmental activism, but in the meantime, she's here to learn and share as much as she can.
Kaitlin McIntosh, Student Director of Communications and Events
Kaitlin is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is a senior at UW-Madison studying Strategic Communications and Reporting within the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. In her free time, Kaitlin enjoys singing, swimming, volunteering and relaxing on the terrace during the summer.
Julia Radomski , Student Director of Branding
Julia is a Landscape Architecture Major with a specialization in Environmental Planning. She holds a firm interest in creating and enhancing communities. Having grown up in Milwaukee, WI, she is accustomed to urban gardening with harvests of a wide variety of fruits and veggies. She has a soft spot in her heart for the shores of Lake Michigan and enjoys passing the time by basking in the sun with a good book. She is an avid lover and owner of two rabbits and has a passion for bonsais, baking, singing, and crafting.