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LISA BAKERINK NAMED FIRST EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF FRIENDS OF THE GARDEN
by Jeanne Duffey
On the 15th-year anniversary of the founding of the Friends of the Garden, the volunteer organization whose primary mission is to create and maintain the Springfield Botanical Gardens took a major step toward future viability by hiring its first fulltime executive director.
Lisa Bakerink was hired for the newly created position by the Friends of the Garden board at its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, August 13, 2015, at the Springfield Botanical Center. Bakerink, who has been active in the organization since 2010 and was serving a third one-year term as board president, will be responsible for providing leadership, direction and supervision to Friends of the Garden volunteers and partner organizations as well as maintaining an effective working relationship with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board and staff.
Her duties as executive director of the 1,200-member organization will begin on October 1, 2015, according to Tom Finnie, the current vice president and chair of the recruitment committee.
“I first became involved with Friends of the Garden as a docent at the Dr. Bill Roston Native Butterfly House,” said Bakerink. “I have enjoyed working for the past five years with such a dedicated and inspiring group that strives to bring people, nature and gardens together. As executive director, I am excited to be given the opportunity to help Friends of the Garden take this important next step in its growth, and to continue to make the Springfield Botanical Gardens one of the top educational and tourist attractions in the area.”
Bakerink, whose prior experience includes a stint as a regional team leader for a large nonprofit in her native Pella, Iowa, became a Master Gardener in 2011. She served as the hotline coordinator and president of the Master Gardeners of Greene County. “I have been immersed in plants and gardening most of my life, having been raised on a farm and maintaining a garden and landscaping at my home.”
A graduate of Iowa State University, Bakerink has a special passion for the monarch butterfly and, since 1999, has participated in the tagging program of Monarch Watch in Lawrence, Kansas. She has been involved with the Friends of the Garden Butterfly Festival for five years. The organization’s signature event is held each summer at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park.
Bakerink is a member of the Greater Ozarks Hosta Society, Missouri Prairie Foundation, Springfield Sister Cities Association, Ozark Daylily Society, Friends of Gray-Campbell Farmstead, Friends of Greene County Extension and Missouri Native Plant Society.