People and Gardens

Karl Lauby, vice president of communications at The New York Botanical Garden, will be retiring from the Garden at the end of December. During the course of more than 23 years of service, Karl has led colleagues institution-wide in achieving tremendous publicity for The New York Botanical Garden - its exhibitions, gardens, collections, programs, and people. His vision and work have been instrumental in creating the high public profile and visibility that the Garden enjoys in all media, which has made an enormous contribution to increasing both varied audiences and vital earned revenue.

The Morton Arboretum announced Donna Biernadski has accepted the position of vice president of marketing. Biernadski comes to the Arboretum from the marketing firm, Wunderman, where she served as senior vice president. Achievements include launching a customer loyalty program across Sears and Kmart, and growing revenues for all clients in spite of the recession.

The Brian C. Nevin Plantations Welcome Center at Cornell University was officially dedicated to the college, its staff and trustees. Baird Sampson Neuert (BSN) Architects from Toronto, Ontario designed the new Center and Welliver McGuire Inc. of Montour Falls, NY managed the construction, which was completed in only twelve months, six months ahead of schedule. Featuring an information desk, gift shop, café and classrooms, this facility provides Cornell with a top-of-the-line approach to welcoming and educating students and the public on its 4,300 acres of protected forests, botanical gardens and arboretum. A new parking area, expanded trail access, lighted walkways and benches were also incorporated. The building met its LEED goal of Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) by incorporating solar panels, a solar heating system, recycled building materials and a bioswale garden to collect water runoff. The modern design is predominantly glass, concrete and natural stone, featuring a unique louver design of Ipe wood on the facade, which creates a sense of being surrounded by nature inside and out.

The Toledo Botanical Garden is pleased to announce that Karen Ranney Wolkins has accepted the position of executive director. With over 25 years of professional experience, Ms. Ranney Wolkins has served in a variety of leadership, development and marketing positions for several local organizations including The Toledo Symphony, and most recently as vice president of marketing and development for Sunset Retirement Communities in Toledo. Ms. Ranney Wolkins holds a BA from Hartwick College and has served on the Board of Directors of the Toledo School for the Arts, the Sunset House in Toledo, and the Catholic Family Center in Rochester, New York.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has named the recipients of its 2010 Leadership Awards, recognizing organizations and individuals who signify vision, leadership and commitment to the evolution of green building design and construction. Among them is Richard Piacentini, executive director at Phipps Conservatory. The 2010 awards recognize leadership achievement in the private, public, and non-governmental organization (NGO) sectors.

Metcalfe Architecture & Design (MA&D) is proud to announce that it has won the top Gold Medal award at the AIA Philadelphia 2010 Awards for Design Excellence for the 450-foot tree canopy walk at Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, which transports visitors from walking on the ground to walking in the treetops five stories above the forest floor.