Fernwood grows team with new hires

Published 5:00 am Sunday, April 16, 2023

NILES — Fernwood happily announces new hires to the garden’s horticulture team. 

Dave Halvax, Director of Horticulture, and Connor Wetzel-Brown, Horticulturist, joined the staff on Tuesday, April 4. 

Halvax is from the western suburbs of Chicago and has an undergraduate degree in finance from North Central College, an associate’s degree in horticulture from the College of DuPage, and six years of experience at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, west of Chicago. After six years at the Arboretum, Halvax pursued a master’s degree in plant science at North Dakota State University.

Wetzel-Brown is a Michigan native from Kalamazoo who completed his undergraduate degree at Arizona State University in environmental biology and a master’s degree in business management at the University of Notre Dame. He worked last year at Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary in Wales, Massachusetts.

“Dave and Connor are sure to bring exceptional expertise and energy to their important roles at the garden. We welcome them to our Fernwood team and to our community,” said Carol Line, Fernwood Executive Director. 

Steve Bornell, Director of Horticulture and Facilities at Fernwood, is retiring after 23 years of esteemed service to the organization. 

In addition to Halvax and Wetzel-Brown, Dan Hook, Katharyn Hutson, and Sadie Holloway have recently joined the garden’s facilities team.