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The Garden’s Partners & Volunteers of the Year

Every year we take a moment to recognize the partners and volunteers who have helped make the Garden so successful and impactful, specifically over the last 12 months. From the businesses, organizations, and clubs in our community that support us to the individuals that dedicate their time and talents out in the Garden, during special events, or other programming, it’s clear this botanical garden wouldn’t be what it is without their help and generosity.

Read on to learn more about our partners and volunteers of the year and join us in recognizing their accomplishments!

Corporate Partner of the Year

Michelle Hansen, President

Green Bay Packaging George Kress Foundation

The Green Bay Packaging George Kress Foundation began its support of the Garden in 1991 before we even opened our doors way to the public. They were one of the first supporters of the first capital campaign to build the Garden providing capital support to build the Kress Oval Garden, a space still adored by guests and used as backdrops for wedding ceremonies today.

The Foundation also supported the Grow the Garden capital campaign in 2010 and the Perennial Performance Campaign in 2016 providing the gift to build the Billie Kress Amphitheater that thousands of concert goers have enjoyed since opening in 2017.  Most recently, the Foundation once again made a commitment to the Nature Nurtures Capital Campaign to support construction of the Tree House structures that will feature elevated walkways accessible to all and connecting each of the five areas, focusing on bird migrations, logging history, trees as commodities, plant growths and diseases and harmful burrowing insects.

In addition, the Foundation has also been a key sponsor of a number of our special events beginning in 2008 with WPS Garden of Lights.

Volunteers of the Year

Budding Volunteer of the Year: Carolee Cretton

Carolee has volunteered almost every week this season with our Horticulture Team and is frequently here twice a week. She is a very hard worker and thoroughly completes her task before moving on to the next. She works well with all the of the volunteers and staff and always has a ready-to-go smile on her face. We’re so glad you joined our team, Carolee!

Youth: Casey Paprocki

Casey started volunteering in July 2020 as a high school junior working with Horticulture Team and is currently studying Horticulture at UW-River Falls. She has returned every summer and has volunteered for more than 200 hours. We’d like to thank Casey for all of the time she’s shared and hope to see her back in 2023!

Guest Experience: Tim O’Brien

Tim has been a tremendous help to the Guest Experience Team. He has truly been a rock for us to rely on during his Sunday shifts, and he lends his dedication to our team as well as our members and guests. Tim has been very flexible and helped whenever he was able. His passion for nature is very evident and he extends a welcome to everyone at this beautiful garden. We deeply appreciate him and look forward to his return.

Development: Nature Nurtures Capital Campaign Co-Chairs, Kathy & Doug Hartman and Terri Trantow & Paul Witek

Doug & Kathy Hartman

These four individuals lead the efforts of our Nature Nurtures Capital Campaign in 2021, working to raise funds for the new Carol & Bruce Bell Children’s Garden. Through the challenging times and obstacles the COVID 19 pandemic presented, their leadership and perseverance prevailed. Their efforts helped inspire 434 donors to support the campaign, exceeding our goal raising more than $13.2 million dollars for the expansion.

Terri Trantow & Paul Witek

We are so fortunate to Kathy, Doug, Terri, and Paul on our team! Their love for the Garden began many years ago and they have inspired our community to embrace nature, each in their own way. We are forever grateful for their leadership, guidance, support, and most importantly their dedication, love, and passion for the Garden and our mission.

Youth Education: Carol Wolske

Carol has stepped in to help the education department in so many ways this year. You’ll often find her reading picture books during Children’s Story Time, sharing knowledge about butterflies, plants, and animals during Discovery Stations, creating and guiding crafts during family events, handing out snacks at concerts, and more. Carol is such a joy to have at the Garden, and we’re very appreciative of how she is able to make a positive impact on the lives of children and families.

Adult Education: Amy Babik

If you’ve taken an adult class at the Garden this year, there’s a good chance you were greeted by the always-smiling Amy. She’s been relentless in her passion for learning, and it’s abundantly clear that she loves sharing her passion with others. We’re so grateful for her reliability, her positive attitude, and her welcoming personality.

Events: Linda Tingley

Linda always goes out of her way to ensure the safety of guests at the Garden. Her attention to guest’s needs is impeccable with a keen eye to make sure events are accessible to all. Linda is frequently one of the first people that guests encounter and knowing they are in good hands is something very special to the Garden.

Horticulture: Mary Roerig

Mary has been volunteering for a few seasons now and was introduced to the Garden at a Weed & Feed event last year. She is always eager to help, super knowledgeable, and has been a big help in flower drying for the natural Holiday tree set up during WPS Garden of Lights.