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A project of the Chicago Botanic Garden

Staff & Sponsors

Who we are

Budburst is managed by the following individuals and is supported by generous contributions from our sponsors

Budburst Staff

Taran Lichtenberger

MS, Community Science Programs Manager

Taran is a graduate of the Plant Biology and Conservation Program at Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden. She previously researched the diversity of plants in the Colorado Plateau, as well as the germination of seeds in the Midwest prairie. Taran is dedicated to removing barriers to science education and participation, recognizing the importance of justice, accessibility, and communication.

Dr. Jennifer Schwarz Ballard

Ph.D., Co-principal Investigator

Jennifer is vice president of Education and Community Programs at the Chicago Botanic Garden. As such, she supervises youth and adult education, horticultural therapy, and the Windy City Harvest urban agriculture programs. Jennifer brings expertise in both formal and informal science education. Her specialities include diversity studies, program design, and evaluation. Before joining the Garden, she completed her graduate studies in learning sciences at Northwestern University.

Kayri Havens

Ph.D., Co-principal Investigator

Kayri is the Medard and Elizabeth Welch Senior Director of Ecology and Conservation at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Her research interests include the effects of climate change on plant species, restoration genetics, pollination networks, ex situ conservation, and invasion biology. She is on the adjunct faculty of Loyola University, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois-Chicago. She chairs the Non-federal Cooperators Committee of the Plant Conservation Alliance and collaborates with a variety of academic institutions, agencies, and stewardship organizations to help improve conservation efforts for plants and plant communities.

Owen Zaengle

MS, Principal Web Applications Developer

Owen Zaengle works as the Principal Web Applications Developer at the Chicago Botanic Garden. He supports the team in managing and developing Budburst technologies. Owen enjoys working at the intersections of conservation research, technology, and the environment. He holds a B.S in Environmental Science from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and M.S in Lake Management from the State University of New York College at Oneonta and is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Environmental Science through the Graduate Program in Environmental Science at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. In his work, Owen aims to develop processes and technologies that support equity, justice, and humility towards ecological flourishing.

Current Sponsors

Budburst is supported by a private endowment for native habitats restoration. Additional support is provided by Walder Foundation.

Past Sponsors

We would also like to acknowledge past sponsors who made the growth of Budburst (formerly Project BudBurst) possible through their generous funding and support:

  • Harvard University
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)

Technical Support

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Budburst is a project of the
Chicago Botanic Garden

One of the treasures of the
Forest Preserves of Cook County

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