Board + Staff

at the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens



Jeff Mozena is retired President/CEO, and current Chairman of the Board of Premier Bank, Dubuque, Iowa.

From my early days picking black raspberries on the Marshall farm and meeting Mac Marshall on his porch for a drink of well water, I knew his farm was unique ... filled with trees and vegetation. I’m certain he would be pleased to see the beauty created in his memory. My uncle, Mel Gottschalk, assisted with the development of the Rose Garden and was active with the beginning of the gardens. Today we add to his legacy with the recent addition of the Edna Mozena Conifer Garden. The gardens provide a place of beauty to relax and enjoy nature. We welcome all to enjoy the work of the Dubuque Garden community.”


DAWN BANDY | Vice-Chair

The controller at Home + Floor Show in Dubuque, Dawn Bandy is a recent graduate of the University of Dubuque’s Life program, earning a Master of Business Administration degree in April 2022, in addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting in 1999.

I have been blessed to grow up in Dubuque, which has allowed me to enjoy the Dubuque Arboretum’s beautiful grounds. When my children were little, we would walk the grounds and have picnics in the park. Now it is my grandchildren’s turn to explore nature and enjoy all that the Arboretum has to offer. [They are particularly fond of the fish and the pond!] We are so fortunate to have such a hidden gem in our community. I look forward to serving on the Board of Directors to help preserve what has been created and develop what is yet to come.”


WENDY KNIGHT | Secretary

The Founder and Collaborative Strategist for Focus Forward, LLC, Wendy brings a depth and breadth of business and nonprofit expertise and experience in campaign management, organizational leadership, fundraising, strategic thinking, and best practices.  With more than 37 years of experience in healthcare, higher education, and banking, she takes sound business principles and applies them to help move organizations toward greater effectiveness and efficiency in achieving outcomes.

I am delighted to serve on the board and honored to be asked. The time I spend at the Arboretum provides so much peace and tranquility. I am looking forward to creating an even more vibrant future with my fellow board members for future generations to enjoy.”



Marsha Abbott is a financial advisor with Edward Jones Investments in Dubuque, Iowa. Prior to working at the firm, she graduated summa cum laude and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in both Finance and Real Estate at the University of Northern Iowa.

Residing in Dubuque with her husband, Brad, and their three children, Lexy, Gavin and Claire, they enjoy skiing, watching movies, and just spending time together as a family. 

Over the years, my family and I have enjoyed many quiet walks through the Arboretum. Every time I am here, a certain sense of peace and tranquility washes over me. I am honored to have been chosen to help on the board as it allows me to give back to the community in a way that I feel will leave a beautiful legacy for future generations to come."


DEBI BUTLER | Board Member

Debi Butler is the imagination behind The Wanderwood Gardens, an immersive woodland playground for day-dreamers of all ages, where people of all ages can come to connect with nature and each other. Its inspiration stems from Debi and Andy Butlers' granddaughters and their love for flowers and nature. The Butlers dreamt of a place where their family could explore, play, and enjoy the beauty of nature. The result is The Wanderwood Gardens. Currently, in the early stages of construction, The Wanderwood Gardens will be connected to the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens and promises to be a place full of joy and imagination for visitors for many years to come. Debi holds multiple degrees in Psychology: an M.A. from Loras College and a B.A. from Augustana College. Throughout the years, she has been active in community organizations focusing on mental health and brain health. The benefits of being outdoors have been integral to Debi's personal and professional growth.

I have always believed that being in the outdoors and around nature is essential for being a well-balanced person. The DABG is one of the most beautiful and special places for individuals and families to visit, explore, and experience what nature has to offer. I have always been amazed at the beauty and serenity that one experiences while immersing themselves in the gardens. I look forward to adding to the incredible legacy that all of the wonderful volunteers, staff, and fellow board members have created over the years."


MERLIN GREEN | Board Member

Merlin Green grew up on a farm in southwest Minnesota, learning to drive a tractor at the age of 5!

After completing a degree in Agricultural Engineering at the University of Minnesota, he and his wife Jo moved to Dubuque where Merlin began his employment at the John Deere Dubuque Works in the product engineering department. Most of his career involved developing software for the rapid analysis of field test data.

My volunteering at the DABG started with taking over the project of mapping and inventorying our trees and plants in the gardens. That work continues, but the computer background has evolved into the support and development of much of the office and gift shop software and processes.

For me, the Dubuque Arboretum has become a 'haven' where the beauty and peacefulness fulfill many personal needs."


LYNNE HAGER | Board Member

Lynne Hager is Vice President of Marketing at MidWestOne Bank.

Whether you're having a good or a bad day, I promise that visiting the Arboretum will put a smile on your face. A stroll through nature always seems to make everything better. During my tenure on the board, it has been a joy watching the Arboretum bloom into what it is today. I truly believe our Arboretum is one of the best destinations in Dubuque!"



Raised in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, Tim Loeffelholz earned a bachelor's degree in Computer Information Systems from Clarke University and also holds a master's degree in Organizational Leadership from Fort Hays State University. Since 2005, he has been the Regional Service Manager at UnityPoint Health - Dubuque. Married to Kim in 2005, he has two daughters and four granddaughters. In 2016 he became a Master Gardener.

Since my first visit to Marshall Park in 1982, I continue to be impressed by the Arboretum and how it continues to grow. My grandkids now visit with me, and the playground and koi fish are a highlight for them! I consider myself to be very fortunate to be on this Board with such involved board members, staff, and volunteers. My hope is that I can play a little part to keep this Dubuque gem in place for generations to come.”


ANNA ROLING | Board Member

Anna Roling is a seasoned professional with a rich background in Human Resources, Operations Management, and Economic Development. Anna currently serves as the Executive Assistant at the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation.

A proud graduate of Loras College, Anna holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Business Administration. She recently served on the Tri-State Human Resources Association (SHRM affiliate) board for five years in Treasurer and President roles. She resides in Dubuque with her husband, son, and two French bulldogs. Outside of work and family, she enjoys reading, travel, outdoor adventures, home design projects, and volunteering with impactful organizations in the community.

Born and raised in Dubuque, I have frequently visited the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens throughout the years and now I have the joy of sharing it with my own family. Whether it's leisurely strolls, playful moments in the park, or marveling at the vibrant koi fish, each visit allows us to immerse ourselves in the splendor of nature. Over the past few years, my work in economic development has made me deeply committed to fostering a sustainable and vibrant future for our community, and I believe places like the Arboretum play a vital role in making Dubuque a community of choice by serving as a sanctuary of natural beauty. I am excited about the opportunity to collaborate with fellow board members, staff, volunteers, and community partners to develop innovative strategies, cultivate new relationships, and enhance the Arboretum's impact in our community.”


STEVEN ULSTAD | Board Member (Past-Chair)

Steve Ulstad, AIA (Ulstad Architects), has provided professional services (Architecture, Landscape Design, Interior Design) to the Dubuque area since 1982.

Married to Jane for 45 years, they have four grown children and seven active grandchildren.

Beginning in the mid-80s, my family and I would visit the Arboretum's grounds often. Then, after Jack Frick invited me to join the Garden Club, I followed him to join the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. I was soon swallowed up in all of the activities! Later, I created the Planning Committee to discuss planning issues and take some of the stress off the Board's monthly activities. We have continued to maintain and build upon the original gardens and have created several new gardens: Legacy Trees, Garden of Eat'n, and the Allé, Herb Garden, Cactus Garden. I'm looking forward to a bright future working with all of the wonderful volunteers and greeting visitors from Dubuque and around the world!"



The founder of the nonprofit organization, Two by Two Character Development, Kristin Woodward-Vaassen's passion to help people, animals, and the environment began in the mid-80s while teaching elementary students. After 20 years in the classroom, Kristin was motivated to inspire good character in all children, thus the Kindhearted Kids Program evolved and is now impacting children throughout thirty-one states.

Part of Two by Two's mission is to teach children how to care for the environment, which is exactly why I love the Dubuque Arboretum! It is truly a peaceful and magical place for all ages to enjoy, learn, and appreciate all living things. I am honored and excited to be a part of the Arboretum's board of directors and look forward to 'planting more beautiful seeds' for our future generations!"



JENNA HIRTZ | Executive Director

Jenna Hirtz started as the second director for the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens in the fall of 2021. Her previous work experience:

  • an Audit Associate at Eide Bailly LLP, and
  • a Budget Financial Analyst with the City of Dubuque.

Her schooling began at Northeast Iowa Community College, where she earned an associate’s degree in Accounting. She then transferred to the University of Dubuque where she completed a bachelor’s in Accounting, Business, and Human Resource Management as well as a Master of Business Administration.

I have been coming to the Dubuque Arboretum since I was a little girl and have many fond memories here. Being able to create cherished memories for others as they visit our beautiful grounds is something I enjoy. I love working in a role where I get to use my skills to help build a beautiful environment that is making a difference in our community, our ecosystem, and the lives of our guests."


LAURA PAULY | Events and Marketing Coordinator

Laura, a graduate of Loras College with a B.A. in Communication, was hired as the DABG’s first Office Coordinator in February 2023. In her new role as Events & Marketing Coordinator,

  • She is looking forward to bringing in various new educational events, as well as fun-filled activities for all ages to enjoy.
  • With so many beautiful sculptures throughout the gardens, she has plans to partner art and nature by hosting various art workshops.
  • Be on the lookout for new-to-the-DABG bands at our sponsored Music in the Gardens concerts.
  • Watch for more exciting opportunities for our visitors to enjoy the garden jewel that is the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens!

Growing up in Dubuque, I have hosted and attended many special occasions at the Arboretum. It has always been a go-to spot for our family to celebrate an occasion, as the beauty of its surroundings paired perfectly with the excitement of the day. When I think of all of the sponsors and volunteers that donate to keep the Arboretum such a beautiful and exciting place to spend special moments, I feel truly blessed to be part of such a generous team. From the time I was able to form my own thoughts, I have always had a heart for giving and for service. I am thrilled to experience and participate firsthand in the magic of what 'community' means to the Arboretum."


MARISA FOSTER | Office and Volunteer Coordinator

Marisa began her studies at Northeastern Iowa Community College, where she earned her associate's degree, then went on to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in Biology focusing on Zoology. 

In addition to teaching in the Dubuque and Western Dubuque Community School Districts, she also served as an Aquarist and Volunteer Coordinator (Living Collections) at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.

In her leisure time, she enjoys creating lasting memories with her husband and two children through shared adventures.

My family's bond with the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens runs deep. We've made incredible memories ... taking photos of important moments and watching our kids get lost in nature's beauty, surrounded by the sweet scent of blooming flowers. It's a place that always sparks new ideas and feelings of wonder. Working alongside the amazing staff and volunteers is an honor. Volunteers are the heartbeat of this place — they bring everything to life! I'm eager to help more people in our community connect with nature and see its incredible beauty."


ANN MERIZON | Grounds Supervisor

Ann Merizon's plant and landscape journey began with a job in a small family-owned nursery. She then achieved a Level 2 Master Gardener certification while living in Kalispell, Montana. After returning to the Midwest, Ann earned an A.A. in Landscape Horticulture with an emphasis in Landscape Maintenance. This led to various roles in the industry and ultimately her own landscape maintenance business.

Previous work experience includes:

  • Research Assistant, Flathead County Extension Office
  • Horticultural Assistant, Frenz Garden Center
  • Owner/Operator, Yard Concierge

Ann also holds a B.S. in Elementary Education.

I moved to Dubuque in 2020 and began volunteering at the Dubuque Arboretum the following spring. I have so enjoyed getting to know the grounds and helping out on a variety of projects the last three seasons. I am honored to work with such dedicated volunteers and aim to help in any way I can.”


LISA WEINHOLD | Accountant

Recently retired from East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA), Lisa served as Director of Finance and Administration for 21 years. Prior to her time at ECIA, she was Finance Director for the Dubuque Community Y. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and is a licensed CPA. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Lisa and her husband Bob currently live in Epworth.

My family moved to Dubuque in 1996. My first memory of visiting the Arboretum was for the Easter sunrise service our church held in the Packard Pavilion. It always seemed to be extremely cold on Easter morning, but it was a beautiful and very moving experience to watch the sun rising in the distance as the service progressed. Over the years my family has also enjoyed picnics, concerts, strolling through the gardens, and even having our family pictures taken with the beauty of the Arboretum as the background. I am excited to join this wonderful team of staff and volunteers in advancing the mission of the Arboretum.”