Arboretum Board Members are volunteers who donate their time because they love this place. They bring expertise in site management, biology, financial management, development, legal matters and education. You’ll see them volunteering at our festivals and other events, bringing enthusiasm and dedication to hands-on support of the Arboretum.

Karen Anderson, President
Attorney, State of Oregon
Legal Expertise; passionate about providing natural spaces for our community

Sally Stender Kesey, Vice President
Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch
Financial planning & management expertise

Carl Bybee, Secretary
Retired Professor, Media Studies, University of Oregon
Expertise in eco-philosopy, systems communications, and environmental education

Charlotte Kreitlow, Treasurer
Certified Public Accountant, Kernutt Stokes
Financial management & accounting skills
Former MPA Staff

Charlotte Helmer
Architectural Historian, HistoriCorps,
Local knowledge, training in museum sciences

Lauren Herbert MD
Pediatrician, PeaceHealth Medical Group
Interested in promoting mental and physical health of children through outdoor experiences

Jessica Winans
Faculty, Linn-Benton Community College
Expertise in outdoor & environmental education

Whitney Randall
Botany, Willamette National Forest
Expertise in plant identification, conservation, habitat restoration, and outdoor education.


The Arboretum has been named one of the 100 best workplaces in Oregon. Our staff embodies excellence in all that we do and proudly serves our mission to engage people with nature through interactive learning and stewardship with decades of combined experience. We’re committed to taking care of this beautiful site so it can be enjoyed for generations.

Executive Director, Brad van Appel: Brad is a lifelong nature lover and learner who believes that the most valuable work we can do is to deepen and share our connection with the natural world. Brad landed his dream job as Executive Director of Mount Pisgah Arboretum in 2008. He feels it is the culmination of a long series of dream jobs and activities, from exploring the woods of Michigan as a child, to thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, working on natural history ships in Mexico and Alaska, and caretaking an island for Washington State Parks. Brad’s nonprofit career began in the mid-nineties and has included developing a citizen-based water quality monitoring program in Alaska, consulting on nonprofit management in the Russian far east, developing fuel-efficient wood cook stoves in Central America, and managing projects and programs for the Organic Materials Review Institute. Brad’s core values are a natural fit for the Arboretum’s mission to engage people with nature.    

Education Manager, Jenny Laxton: Jenny has been working in Environmental Education for over 15 years, mostly in the Pacific Northwest. She graduated from the University of Oregon (a long time ago now!) with a degree in Environmental Studies and Anthropology. After a stint in the Peace Corps in Madagascar doing environmental education, she returned home to Oregon to continue that work with kids here. She believes that connecting with nature is important for the health and well being of both people and the planet. She also thinks that connecting with the outdoors should be done less with an impending sense of doom and more with a sense of humor and joy- because being outside is fun! When she is not leading nature walks at the Arboretum for kids and families, she can be found hanging out with her husband and tending to her two rowdy offspring, anxious dog, loud ducks and not very smart but sweet cat. Sometimes she leaves them all to fend for themselves and hides in her garden with her plants–who are blissfully quiet. 

Habitat and Trails Manager, Patrick Wegner: Patrick joined the Arboretum in the spring of 2020. Born and raised in Oregon, He graduated from Oregon State University’s Natural Resources program with an emphasis in Recreation and Tourism Management. Patrick has held several positions throughout Oregon with the Oregon State Parks and Recreation and the North Clackamas Parks and Rec dept., and volunteered with various natural resources organizations. He has extensive field experience performing habitat restoration and monitoring projects, plus outdoor education experience. He is excited to bring his knowledge and passion to the Arboretum. During his free time, he can be found spending time outside hiking, fishing, hunting, or traveling with his girlfriend. 

Facilities Manager, Connor Reinecke: Connor grew up in Northwest Washington State surrounded by trees, rivers, and mountains. After receiving his B.S. in Physics from Western Washington University, Connor travelled around the West Coast performing wildlife surveys, working construction, and teaching at outdoor schools. Connor loves riparian areas and enjoys running trails, reading a good book, and bird watching. His favorite foods are fresh carrots from the garden and ice cream.

Development & Communications Coordinator, Leisha Wood: Leisha grew up in Eugene and has been tromping around Mount Pisgah since she was three years old. Leisha received her BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon, and has gained experience in the non-profit sector in community education and outreach and program management. Leisha joined Mount Pisgah Arboretum as the Venue Manager in 2018 and loves working in a place that has been so special to her throughout her life. In her off hours, Leisha spends her time printmaking, sewing, adventuring, and snuggling with her two cats Lucy and Lemon.

Interpretation Coordinator, August Jackson: August began his career with the Arboretum in 2011, and has been in his current position as the Arboretum’s Interpretation Coordinator since 2016. August is passionate about teaching people about the natural world and making science communication more accessible, and he believes the Arboretum provides an unparalleled classroom. In addition to his work at the Arboretum, August’s expertise in the native bees of the Pacific Northwest has him frequently traveling for teaching and field work. August is an instructor with the Oregon Bee Atlas out of Oregon State University, and is the current president of the Eugene Natural History Society. In his free time, August enjoys gardening, photography, rafting, and spending time with his partner Amy and their two cats.

Bookkeeper and Development Assistant, Julie Hubbard: Julie joined the Arboretum in 2013 shortly after moving to Eugene.  She grew up in Portland and spent much of her childhood camping, skiing, and hiking around the PNW.  Through a lucky turn of events, she discovered work as a bookkeeper more than 25 years ago while in graduate school studying English Literature.  She decided she’d rather read novels in her free time and has been working as a bookkeeper for small non-profits and businesses ever since.  For fun Julie reads, walks the trails of Eugene, enjoys coffee dates with friends, and hangs out with her grumpy cat and two children, Spencer & Izzy, who are no longer kids.

Office Coordinator, Mackenzie O’Connor: Mackenzie was born and raised right here in Eugene. Growing up she spent many weekends at Mount Pisgah with her grandparents – working on trails, searching for peacock feathers, and catching ladybugs in the barn. After graduating high school she has spent most of her professional life working as a legal clerk and office assistant. She is thrilled to be working at the Arboretum where she can connect with and give back to the community she grew up in. In her free time she enjoys reading, hiking, playing board games, and spending time with her crazy cat Freya.

Site Assistant, Josh Head: Josh has worked at Mount Pisgah Arboretum since 2018. He was born in Wyoming but moved with his family to Oregon at about the age of one. Throughout his childhood he lived all over the northwest and ended up going to three different elementary schools, two different middle schools, and four different high schools. After high school Josh moved back to Eugene because it had always felt like home for him. Since then, Josh has stayed in Eugene, working various jobs and attending Lane Community College before fortunately ending up at Mount Pisgah Arboretum. In his free time Josh enjoys being in nature with his dog Boogie, hiking and camping in the summer, and photography.