Mission

The Friends of Wilderness Park are committed to sustaining the ecological integrity of Wilderness Park through education, preservation, and community collaboration.

Values

  • Wilderness Park is a place of natural and historical significance worthy of protection and preservation.
  • Active ecological care of Wilderness Park is critical to maintaining its biodiversity of flora and fauna.
  • Wilderness Park is a sanctuary for all, offering recreational enjoyment and a place of peace and natural beauty.
  • Human connection to nature is intrinsic to our physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

Goals

The Friends of Wilderness Park will:

  • Educate citizens of the unique nature of Wilderness Park including its native, rare, endangered and threatened species.
  • Create opportunities for research and learning with local educational institutions pertaining to the park’s biological, recreational, and historical value.
  • Advocate for policies that allow for the growth and health of Wilderness Park, through collaboration with citizens, public agencies, and non-profits.
  • Facilitate volunteer efforts that maintain ecological integrity and public use.
  • Celebrate the Park through recreation, expression, and play.

About Us

Penny Costello

Penny Costello

President

Penny has been with the board since 2015. She is the current board president and
education committee chair. Recently retired from NET Television, she has practiced a 30-year career in broadcast journalism and audio/video production. She is an advocate for environmental and social justice, and enjoys networking with community non-profits. Penny grew up on a ranch in the Black Hills, but has also lived in the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada’s, and Minneapolis. Her lifelong relationship with the landscapes she
lives in fuels her passion for healthy ecosystems, urban green spaces, and
reconnecting humans with nature.

Adam Hintz

Adam Hintz

Past President, Current Vice President

Adam Hintz is a Lincoln native for whom Wilderness Park has always been home. A devoted steward of the park since childhood, he has served on the board since 2008, and was president from 2010-2016. Adam is a former owner of Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso, and currently supports a number of non-profit organizations through Alpha Dog Marketing. Adam cherishes time alone in the park, staying connected to nature, and exploring with his two children. He sees preservation of the park as a vital responsibility to the community and to future generations.
Dan King

Dan King

Dan has been with the Friends since 2013. He is the acting secretary and former treasurer of the board. A graduate of UNL’s environmental studies program, Dan has enjoyed a career serving various public and non-profit environmental organizations, including his work as an environmental health specialist with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department for the last decade. Dan is grateful to his father for exposing him to the park in the 1970’s, and for impressing upon him a passion for environmental advocacy. Find Dan in the park cycling with friends after work, or get up early on the weekend to catch him for his regular sunrise hike.
Adam Sutton

Adam Sutton

Adam is from Columbus, Nebraska. He holds a degree from the University of Nebraska in natural resources, specializing in fish and wildlife. He currently works as an environmental educator for the Lower Platte South Natural Resource District. Much of Adam’s professional and personal time is dedicated to sharing and protecting natural resources and biodiversity in places like Wilderness Park.  Adam joined the board in 2016.

Terry Haverkost

Terry Haverkost

Treasurer

Terry serves as the current treasurer and grant committee chair for the Friends, and is the former board secretary.  He has served the board since 2014.  Originally from Bellevue, Nebraska, Terry received his Ph.D. in biology from UNL. He is currently the strategic research funding coordinator for the chemistry department at UNL, where he helps pursue research funding from places like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Terry and his wife, Marisa, enjoy the park for hiking, wildlife, and quiet nature reflection.
Katie Dimon Graf

Katie Dimon Graf

Secretary

Katie grew up in Lincoln has enjoyed Wilderness Park as a horse person, a runner, and a hiker since childhood. She was an English major at Colorado College and returned home to work at the University of Nebraska. She has worked with many area nonprofits over the years in fund development, and currently works for Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in the Foundation and the Research Institute as a program coordinator. Her children grew up loving the park and her son has been a volunteer and staff counselor for Wilderness Day Camp. She joined the board in 2017.

Carolyn Nolte

Carolyn Nolte

Carolyn first experienced Wilderness Park in 2000 when she volunteered to conduct water testing in the Salt Creek. Birds and quiet bring her to the park now. She looks forward to introducing others to Wilderness Park through volunteer activities and guided hikes.

Amanda Sutton Kelly

Amanda Sutton Kelly

Amanda is from Columbus Nebraska, by way of Monroe, where she grew up immersed in the natural world.  She studied Psychology and Sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  She has worked at Dimensions Education Programs/Nature Explore for the past 9 years as a teacher, co-researcher, and center support, inspiring children to love learning through nature and also teaches at Big Top Performance Art Center.  Amanda appreciates Wilderness Park’s location, discretely nestled right here in Lincoln, as place to experience the wild on any day through hiking, biking, and authentic exploration.

Mary Kay Roth

Mary Kay Roth

Mary Kay Roth is currently the director of Communications for Lincoln Public Schools. Prior to that, she worked on various newspapers across the country, including the Lincoln Journal Star. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. And she loves Wilderness Park.

Carrie Wiese

Carrie Wiese

Carrie Wiese obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in natural resource
sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, specializing in hydrologic sciences.
She has worked in various public sector roles, including for the Nemaha Natural
Resources District, the City of Laramie, Wyoming, and the Nebraska Departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources. She has also worked in the non-profit sector, as a field programs coordinator for the Groundwater Foundation.

Clint Densberger

Clint Densberger

Wilderness Park was an integral bridge in my formative years. Having lived on the ocean, in the mountains and valleys of the Yellowstone River, and having walked in the paradox that is the hallowed Meiji Shrine of Tokyo, an ancient forest and shrine amidst one of the busiest cities in the world, I have listened to these geographies. I have eaten voraciously of their rich diversities, their colorful palates lit by numerous sunsets and first morning rays watering my very essence and I am attracted magnetically to these backwaters that fill the soul. Our culture that is consumed by this capitalist notion that you can commodify everything suffers from the loss of its agrarian roots and its eroding natural spaces. Places that exist without this system must be nurtured to exist within each of us. We need to relearn that connection, and for me, Wilderness Park was one of my first teachers in that lesson. I need to foster that teaching going forward.

Jane Holt

Jane Holt

Katie grew up in Lincoln has enjoyed Wilderness Park as a horse person, a runner, and a hiker since childhood. She was an English major at Colorado College and returned home to work at the University of Nebraska. She has worked with many area nonprofits over the years in fund development, and currently works for Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in the Foundation and the Research Institute as a program coordinator. Her children grew up loving the park and her son has been a volunteer and staff counselor for Wilderness Day Camp. She joined the board in 2017.

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