Explore the Garden

Benjamin Futa, Executive Director

bfuta@wisc.edu

Benjamin Futa picture

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 421

Elin Meliska, Director of Programs and Community Engagement

meliska@wisc.edu

Elin Meliska picture

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.

Kaitlin McIntosh, Director of Events and Marketing

kmcintosh@wisc.edu

Kaitlin McIntosh picture

Kaitlin is from Oak Creek, Wisconsin and graduated in May of 2017 with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism with emphases in Strategic Communication and Reporting. She started working at the Garden over a year and half ago as the Public Relations intern, then as Student Director of Events and Programming, and is overjoyed to be be the Director of Events and Marketing 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

jjsteger@wisc.edu

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Josh, a former ACG Intern, has returned to the Allen Centennial Garden as the Head Gardener. After graduating in the Summer of 2016, Josh worked for AmeriCorps for a year in the Madison area. After that he went to work for Avant Gardening and Landscaping for the 2017 Summer. He is excited to be back at Allen Centennial Garden and share these experiences with the volunteers, the interns, and the Garden!

Julia Radomski, Student Director of Horticulture

jradomski2@wisc.edu; West Side Garden Club Scholarship

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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.

Will Olson, Student Director of Horticulture

wolson5@wisc.edu; Demeter Scholarship

Will Olson picture

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!

Kolin Goldschmidt, Programs and Photography Intern

kgoldschmidt@wisc.edu; A. David and Rose Carlson Scholarship; Burkhardt Scholarship

Kolin Goldschmidt picture

I’m excited to have the opportunity to work in a space like the Allen Centennial Garden because of all of the positive energy that it brings to campus. The Garden is a unique green space amidst classrooms and offices, so I hope that I can help facilitate events that bring people closer to nature and each other. As a photographer, my goal is to capture images of just plants and their blooms, but also the memories made by visitors with their friends and families. Last Spring, I fell in love with the interactions between plants and animals at the Garden when I saw chirping frogs in the tall grass, so I’m looking forward to finding more sub-communities to share with visitors. 

Ryan Drake, Horticulture Intern

rtdrake@wisc.edu

Ryan Drake picture

Ryan is studying Community and Environmental Sociology and Studio Art. The connections and dialogues between ecology, beauty, and people are an area 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 the staff and visitors alike and share with everyone about the many activities of the garden. From Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Ryan enjoys spending time outdoors like camping, running, or swimming and is also an avid artist.

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Allen Centennial Garden
620 Babcock Drive
Madison WI 53706
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Contact Info
Phone: 608-576-2501
E-mail: info@allencentennialgarden.org

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