512-572-0345   •   2220 Barton Springs Road Austin, TX 78746

STAFF

Cat Newlands, Executive Director | Cat is a native Austinite who has spent the last 25 years working in the non-profit communities in the Austin and Seattle areas. She has experience working with City, County and State level government contracts and funders; fund,staff & program development & oversight; organizational and strategic development; and Board recruitment and development. Prior to joining Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy, she spent 6 years working at Skillpoint Alliance, ultimately in the position of Interim Executive Director.

 

BOARD

Marion Alsup | A former registered nurse whose first degree is in Horticulture, Marion is President of the Austin Area Garden Center and President of the Docents of Zilker Botanical Garden.  She has been a docent  since 1995, leading many tours every year for visitors of all ages.  She is inspired by their appreciation for this treasure and delighted to share in this opportunity to improve the garden and educational programs.

Frank Cooksey | Frank was educated in the Austin public schools (Pease, UJH, Austin High) and is a graduate of the University of Texas in Psychology, Government, and Law (BA and JD), where he was Student Body President. He pursued the practice of Law with the Civil Rights Division and US Attorney’s Office, U.S. Department of Justice; Special Assistant to the Attorney General of Texas; Private practice in Houston and Austin (with Hilgers & Watkins, P.C. for 16 years) . Additionally, Mr. Cooksey served as Mayor of Austin from 1985-1988. Married to Lynn Cooksey for 58 years, with two children and two grandchildren.

In addition to his work here in Texas, Mayor Cooksey also worked overseas for the Central and East European Law Initiative in 1999 and 2000) and monitoring municipal elections in Bosnia in 1997. He has served as President of the Board of Texas Institute for Families, Save Barton Creek Association, United Nations Association of Austin, Austin Metropolitan Ministries, Capitol Area Homeless Alliance, and, in Houston, the Southgate Civic Club and Houston Metropolitan Ministries.

Dr. Gloria Cisneros Lenoir, Treasurer | Dr. Lenoir is a writer and strives to help in the community in regards to organizations that are involved in earth care sustainability and quality of life issues. She has worked in the private and public sectors and has experience in education, finance and government.

Patrick O’Daniel | Patrick is a native Austinite and tax partner at Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP. He has served as Board President for the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum and Catholic Charities of Central Texas as well as general counsel for Zachary Scott Theatre. He is a CPA and also an adjunct professor who teaches partnership tax at the University of Texas School of Law.

Jennifer Orr, Chair | Jennifer Orr is a landscape architect, mother of two, and avid gardener.  She has a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, is a founding Principal of her firm Studio Balcones, and throughout her work, strives to connect humans to nature – creating landscapes that are integrated, functional, sustainable and beautiful.  Jennifer grew up in Austin and has a great love of the Texas landscape and is thrilled to be part of the ZBGC.

Ed Parken | Ed Parken graduated with his Masters degree in  Mechanical Engineering from Ohio State in 1962. Shortly after graduation he started his 22-year career with IBM and along with his wife, Judy, and two small children moved to Austin, Texas in 1968.  Ed retired in 2001 and moved back to Austin.  In  2005 Ed worked with a team to install a Rainwater Harvesting System for  the Zilker Botanical Garden. Ed was the Project Manager for  number of improvements to ZBG:the lower gate for the Japanese Garden, coating 4 of the Japanese Garden Ponds, and a  inside-the-fence survey map of the ZBG.  Ed serves on the Horticulture Committee, is on the ZBGC board and is a Master Gardener.

Jeff Pavlat, Secretary | Jeff is the Vice President of Education and Newsletter Editor for the Austin Cactus and Succulent Society, and a past society president. He currently serves as the Vice President of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America and manages their publications. He is also the Austin Area Garden Council Vice President of Horticulture. Jeff received a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin with an emphasis on graphic design, photography, and printmaking. He works part time as a horticulturist at Oracle Gorge, a small cactus and succulent nursery. He is an expert on succulent flora and maintains a large collection of rare plants. His hillside garden in Austin features extensive plantings of cacti and succulents and has become a favorite stop on several local garden tours.

Hal Sanders, Vice Chair | Hal is a retired attorney (Haynes & Boone, LLP) who continues to serve as a mediator for assisting in the resolution of disputes in federal and state court.  Hal serves on the State Bar of Texas lawyer disciplinary committee and is a volunteer counsel for the American Association of Woodturners a 15000 member organization of artists and craftsmen worldwide.  Hal serves as Vice Chair of the Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy and as Chair of the Legal committee for the board. Hal has previously served as a Director of the University of Texas Law School Alumni Association. 

Evan Taniguchi | Owner and Principal of Taniguchi Architects since 1978, Evan specializes in architecture, urban planning and sustainable design.  He is involved in many civic/community services;  currently Chair of the City of Austin Design Commission, Board member and Past-President of the Austin History Center Association, Community Board Member of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, and a founding member of the Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy.  His grandfather created the Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden which is located in the Zilker Botanical Gardens. 

Syd Teague | Dr. Syd Teague is a Board member of the ZBGC serving as the head of the  Government Relations committee. She is Vice President of Austin Area Garden Council, serving as head of Government Relations for their organization also. Syd is an avid gardner and 15-year member of Westlake Hills Garden Club.

Amy Voorhes |  Amy is the principal of InsideOut Garden Design, an independent design practice specializing in residential renewal.  She has lived in Austin since 2013.  Prior to that she lived in Brookline, MA, where she advocated for improved access to parks for low income neighborhoods and raised funds for the public schools.  Amy has gardened in virtually every climate zone in the country and has been known to steal her neighbors’ grass clippings to feed her mulch pile.