Explore the Garden

Benjamin Futa, Executive Director


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Ben, from South Bend, Indiana, is passionate about 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 421

Elin Filbey, Director of Programs and Community Engagement


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Elin, from Chicago, Illinois, 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. Elin is excited to return to the Midwest and build the education and outreach program at the Garden.

Kaitlin McIntosh, Director of External Relations


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Kaitlin is from Oak Creek, Wisconsin and graduated in 2017 from UW-Madison with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism with emphases in Strategic Communication and Reporting. She started working at the Garden as the Public Relations intern, then as Student Director of Events and Programming, and is overjoyed to be be the Director of External Relations year round. Kaitlin has found a new appreciation and passion for the emotional, mental and physical benefits the Garden provides its community and can't wait to see it prosper!

Josh Steger, Director of Horticulture


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Josh, a former ACG Intern from Muskego, Wisconsin, has returned to the Garden as the Director of Horticulture. After graduating in 2016 with a Bachelor's degree in Community and Environmental Sociology, Josh worked for AmeriCorps for a year in the Madison area. After that he went to work for Avant Gardening and Landscaping. He is excited to be back at the Garden and share his experiences with the volunteers, the interns and the Garden itself!

Kolin Goldschmidt , Programs Apprentice

kgoldschmidt@wisc.edu | Demeter and West Side Garden Club Scholarships

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Returning for his second summer, Kolin, from Verona, Wisconsin, is excited to continue working in the Garden because of all of the positive energy that it brings to campus. The Garden is a unique green space amidst classrooms and offices and hopes to facilitate events that bring people closer to nature and each other. He fell in love with the interactions between plants and animals at the Garden when he saw chirping frogs in the tall grass, and is looking forward to finding more sub-communities to share with visitors. 

Ryan Drake, Horticulture Apprentice

rtdrake@wisc.edu | Carlson and Beck Scholarships

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Returning for a second summer with the Garden, Ryan recieved a Bachelor's degree in Community and Environmental Sociology and Studio Art from UW-Madison in 2018 . The connections and dialogues between ecology, beauty and people are areas of great curiosity for him. With a life long interest in the environment, and a growing interest in plants, he is excited to learn from staff and visitors alike about the many activities of the Garden. From Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Ryan enjoys spending time outdoors like camping, running or swimming and is an avid artist.

Beth Allen , Special Events Intern


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Beth is a freshman studying Psychology and French. As someone who hopes to become a clinical psychologist, she has always been fascinated by nature and its connection to mental health. She is excited to spend her summer in the Garden helping plan and work events. She hopes to ensure that visitors enjoy their time in the Garden. From Waukesha, WI, Beth loves reading, learning and meeting new people. 

Celia Glime, Photography Intern


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Celia is Studying Visual Arts at UW Madison, with focuses in Painting and Photography. Celia also has a large interest in nature and plant biology and avidly supports the integration between art and science! She is excited to take some beautiful photos and learn more about the variety of plants that call the Garden home. From Green Bay, Wisconsin, she enjoys spending time outside, boating, skiing, taking photos, SCUBA diving and just soaking up the sun. She loves animals as well and is a cat mommy to a beautiful fur baby, named after her favorite flower; Iris.

Isaac Zaman , Horticulture Intern

izaman2@wisc.edu | Burkhardt Scholarship

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Isaac is a freshman at UW studying Computer Science. His main hobby, however; has always been gardening and appreciating nature. With an interest that stemmed from his grandmother's gardenig business, he is eager to learn more about the Garden and how it functions day to day by learning from knowledgable volunteers and experienced staff. He is a Madison native also enjoys reptiles and building terrariums in his free time.

Jaya Larsen, Marketing Intern


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Jaya, a senior from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, is studying Strategic Communications and Reporting with minors in Environmental Studies, Global Health, Digital Studies and Leadership. She is also a member of several student organizations on campus including Advertising Club, the Association for Women in Communications and Tangled Up In Blue, UW-Madison’s oldest all-female a cappella group, for which she currently serves as president. In her free time, she likes to listen to music, read poetry, paint outdoors and set up her hammock wherever she can.

Liliana Teniente, Guest Services Intern


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Liliana is pursuing a degree in International Studies with a certificate in Development Economics at UW. She is interested in learning about the intersectionalities between environmentalism and social justice, and hopes to one day work in the realm of policy-making. This summer, Liliana will be studying abroad in India to study political pluralism and will be returning to Madison where she looks forward to working at the Garden.

Maire Cait Mullen, Wellness Events Intern


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Maire Cait is a Community and Environmental Sociology major and is receiving a Studio Art certificate from UW. She is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and growing up next to Lake Michigan heavily influenced her love for and interest in the environment and working with communities on how to protect the world. She is very excited to be a part of this year’s cohort and work directly with the UW-Madison community. In her free time, she enjoys being in the sun and drawing or painting.

Sam Wood, Plant Parents Intern

woodsamj@gmail.com | Friends of Allen Centennial Garden

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Sam is a freshman studying English and Spanish at UW. He is in the GreenHouse Learning community at Leopold Residence Hall and his experiences here have only amplified his already great love and appreciation for plants and nature. A firm believer in the mental, social and physical health benefits of nature exposure and gardening, Sam is eager be the Plant Parents intern. He hopes to bridge the gap between the Garden and the UW-Madison student body. In his free time, Sam loves to read, write poetry, go picnicking and go for hikes.

Tolu Igun, Youth and Family Programs Intern

igun@wisc.edu | Demeter Scholarship

Tolu Igun picture

Tolu is a senior at UW-Madison studying Psychology and Philosophy. Originally from Farmington Hills, Michigan, Tolu grew up spending a lot of her free time in nature. She also enjoys writing, reading and listening to music. Tolu is interested in working with non-profit organizations further after receiving her degree and is looking forward to growing her knowledge around youth enrichment programming in particular. This will be Tolu's first summer in Madison and she is excited to have the opportunity to spend it learning from the Garden and the people who enter it each day.

Tori Lopez , Horticulture Intern

vblopez@wisc.edu | Warren “Buck” Gabelman Scholarship

Tori Lopez  picture

Tori is from Chicago, IL and is currently pursuing and Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences Communication. With a deep fascination for urban green spaces, she is excited to help connect curious visitors with the vibrant greenery of the Garden. Visitors can find Tori in the Rock Garden, where she’ll gladly share some Garden trivia if asked! Outside of interning, she loves reading fashion blogs, watching Mexican soccer and writing.

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Allen Centennial Garden
620 Babcock Drive
Madison WI 53706

Contact Info
Phone: 608-576-2501
E-mail: info@allencentennialgarden.org

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