(515) 795-3216 info@iowaarboretum.org

Arboretum Staff

They say it takes a village, and our village is full of amazing people who use their gifts and ability to help keep our Iowa Arboretum a place for everyone to enjoy! Scroll down and meet the team.

Mark Schneider – Executive Director

Mark became the Executive Director of the Iowa Arboretum in the fall of 2011, after working for 32 years at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, Virginia.  One of his accomplishments there was to work with his staff to develop the zoo into a botanical garden. He also focused on creating educational garden spaces, establishing environmental conservation projects and starting garden programs for people with special needs.

He earned an undergraduate degree in horticulture from the University of Delaware and a Master’s degree in Human Resource Development from George Washington University. He also has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Old Dominion University in Norfolk.

Mark lives in Ames with his wife Phyllis.  They have two children.

Contact Mark:



David McKinney – Curator of Collections and Grounds

David graduated from Colorado State University with two undergraduate degrees in horticulture and a master’s. His work history includes coordinating demonstration gardens with CSU, working with Colorado Extension, and being a horticulture specialist with the Denver Zoo. He has been working in this industry for over ten years and is a very active member of the Perennial Plant Association, AmericanHort, and various other groups.

David joined the Iowa Arboretum and Gardens in 2022.

Contact David:


Kevin Lantz – Horticulturalist

Kevin has spent the past 41 years with the Iowa Arboretum working as a horticulturist, taking care of the grounds, and overseeing weddings. He graduated from Iowa Lakes Community College with an AAS degree in Horticulture. He grew up in Pomeroy but now resides in Boone. His family continues to be big supporters of the Iowa Arboretum and spend as much time as they can volunteering. In his down time, Kevin enjoys going fishing, nature, and traveling.

Contact Kevin:


Heather Bass – Membership Manager

Heather graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. degree in Horticulture and worked at a few different locations before joining the Arboretum in 2001. Heather began working at the Arboretum as a horticulture specialist, managing the greenhouse and working on the grounds.  She moved on to work as the gift shop manager and office manager before becoming the membership manager in 2024.  In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys at their home in Ames.

Contact Heather:


Doug Lang – Accounting

Doug graduated from Mt Mercy College in Cedar Rapids with a degree in Accounting/Business/Marketing and from Kirkwood College in Cedar Rapids with a degree in Computer Programming.  He was 20 years old when he first started working in accounting and finance.  He retired from Case New Holland/CNH Industrial America Inc. in May 2021.

He enjoys spending his free time with his wife, 4 children, and 8 grandchildren including 5 grand dogs.  Other activities include fishing/camping/riding motorcycles and bicycles.   Doug and his wife live in Polk City.

Doug started working at the Arboretum in February of 2024.

Contact Doug:


Kim Anderson – Venue & Marketing Coordinator 


Kim graduated from the  University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Science  degree in Natural Resources, majoring in both Recreation Resource Management and Biological Aspects of Conservation. Kim has dedicated her career to inspiring stewardship of the natural world by creating opportunities for others to appreciate and value the outdoor environment all around them. She has been able to accomplish this through environmental education, public and private events, educational field trip programming, camp and enrichment programs, outdoor recreation, interpretation, and high-quality tourism activities for guests all ages. She is excited to bring this passion to the Iowa Arboretum and Gardens!
Kim is the proud mom of two adult sons, and equally proud Mimi of two amazing grandsons. She lives in Panora with her husband and two dogs.



Contact Kim:


Natural Resource Technician Patrick

Patrick Schmidt – Natural Resource Technician

I’ve lived in Ames most of my life and have always loved spending time outdoors and educating others about the environment.  Connecting people with nature is essential to protect our environment. I interned at the Arboretum last summer and am thrilled to be back at Tree House Village.

My education has been nontraditional but has given me a unique perspective. I graduated from Ames High in 2016, took a few semesters at DMAC, and then attended Hawkeye Community College to study Professional Photography. COVID-19 impacted my education, but I graduated in 2021 with a Liberal arts(aa) degree. In 2022, I came to ISU to study forestry, specializing in urban forestry. I am currently taking a break from coursework to get field experience.

I’m an outdoor enthusiast and love spending my free time hiking, gardening, and taking photographs.

I have a beautiful Siberian cat named Caspian, and on my days off, you can find me hiking, exploring the farmers’ market with my girlfriend and friends, playing disc golf, or gardening.

Contact Patrick:


Trial Garden Coordinator

Fatima Najar – Trial Program Coordinator

Fatima graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Forestry with an emphasis in conservation. Fatima’s passion for nature and knowledge made exploring out of forestry easy. Now working for the Iowa Arboretum and Gardens, Fatima has begun her horticulture journey and aims to become comfortable identifying plants, taking good care of them, and learning how they can benefit the landscape. Because of Fatima’s many interests, her long-term goal is to further her experiences in different fields to get an all-around understanding of what conservation looks like and how to communicate the importance of sustainability to audiences of all ages.
Fatima enjoys hiking, reading, and making desserts in her free time.

Contact Fatima:


Trial Garden Coordinator

Tom Lockhart – Customer Service & Gift Shop Manager

Tom is an Iowa native, growing up in Ames and attending Ames High and Iowa State University.

 Tom has enjoyed a great deal of success in retail, business, and the nonprofit sectors. He has owned two businesses of his own, both in Arizona. Tom has worked as a District Manager & Buyer for Coach House Gifts in Ames. He has also worked as a Manager for Earl May Garden Centers in Iowa and with Jax Outdoor Gear in Ames.

 Tom has served as the Marketing & Communications Director for Habitat for Humanity of Central Iowa and as a Volunteer Coordinator for Central Iowa RSVP.

 Tom has also served as the CEO of the North Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, Director of Member Benefits for the Arizona Small Business Association, on the Board of Directors for the American Healing Arts Foundation and Tom served two terms on the City of Ames Commission on the Arts.

Tom has one son, Jeff, who is currently on the faculty at the University of Chicago.

 Tom is excited to join the Iowa Arboretum & Gardens team and contribute to the continued growth of the organization. Tom’s plan is to utilize his vision and experience to grow the volume and profits of the Iowa Arboretum & Gardens gift shop. Creating a warm welcoming experience which will facilitate growth in visitors, memberships, and shoppers.



Contact Fatima: