About Good Oak
We took the name “Good Oak” from a chapter in Aldo Leopold's landmark work A Sand County Almanac. In this chapter Leopold narrates the sawing of a dead oak tree for the firewood it will provide to heat his now famous 'shack'. As they saw through each annual growth ring in the massive trunk, he chronicles various historic and conservation events during the year each ring represents.
At Good Oak, our mission is to “To restore ecological health and reestablish native plants to our landscape for the benefit of wildlife and a more sustainable future for humanity.” We have been strongly influenced by Aldo Leopold and his “Land Ethic". So we chose our company name to honor what we feel is the most influential work of conservation literature of the 20th century. We strive to live up to Leopold's ideals and work for positive change.
We are proud members of Dane Buy Local, The Prairie Enthusiasts, Wild Ones, Green Masters Program, Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin (IPAW), Midwest Ecological Landscaping Association (MELA), Upper Sugar River Watershed Association, Wisconsin Wetlands Association, and the Wisconsin Prescribed Fire Council. We work in cooperation with the Greater Madison Healthy Lawn Team.
Frank Hassler Ecologist / CEO
Frank has over fifteen years of volunteer and professional experience in the fields of ecology and botany. He has earned a B.S. in Ecology from the University of Illinois and an M.S. in Forestry at Northern Arizona University. His passion for restoring natural areas was sparked on a tour of a local prairie in his very first week in college. He was amazed by the beauty and uniqueness of dozens of plants, a whole ecosystem in fact, that he had never seen before. From that moment on Frank has worked towards the preservation, restoration and re-creation of natural areas. As his knowledge of conservation issues grew, he realized that if we are going to maintain the diversity of our wildlife over time that we are going to have go beyond simply conserving our natural areas and also reintegrate native plants and animals into our human landscapes.
Frank can identify over 1,000 species of wild plants. His botanical knowledge gives him a unique understanding of natural communities as well as knowing which plants will thrive and look good in your landscape. His experience in natural areas management ranges from prescribed burning to weed management to prairie installation. He also has experience with erosion control methods and recreational trail construction. His life-long dedication to the environment and social causes bleeds through into the way he lives his life and manages his business. Frank is also an avid cyclist, so don't be surprised if he shows up to a site visit on his bicycle.
Athena Salzer Senior Project Manager
Athena is a Wisconsin native with a Bachelors of Science degree in Forest Ecosystem Restoration & Management and a minor in Conservation Biology earned at the University of Wisconsin– Stevens Point. While studying at UWSP, she was an active leader and volunteer through the student chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration. Through this organization, she helped lead major efforts to restore habitat for the federally endangered karner blue butterfly and managed a research crew surveying the endangered butterflies and their native populations. Her academic coursework has also given her extensive training with plant identification and hands on experience with field work in many native ecotypes. Athena's passion for the natural world keeps her motivated and drives her ambition to help restore and maintain sustainable landscapes. This girl has a natural green thumb and lives to work with plants.
Amy Jo Dusick Sustainable Landscaping Manager
Amy Jo grew up in the northern coulees of the Driftless Area, within the Lower Chippewa River watershed. Following participation in what she thought would be a casual volunteer vacation at a local state park, she soon realized her interests in natural resource management and sustainable systems. She went on to acquire a Master’s degree in Environment and Resources at the UW-Madison Nelson Institute, looking at the recovery of native soil microbial communities upon the removal of invasive plant populations. Amy Jo also works as a weekend naturalist at the UW-Arboretum and is an ardent advocate for community stewardship and citizen participation as a means to further advance the science of ecology. She currently resides in Madison and can often be seen meandering, seemingly without course, in search of fungi.
Evan Nelson Assistant Project Manager
Evan grew up in Hingham, a small town outside of Sheboygan. He graduated from the University of Minnesota Crookston with a degree in Natural Resources - Water Resource Management. He was first exposed to restoration while collecting native seed on the Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge near Crookston and was further exposed through many classes. While attending school in Crookston, he worked for a local landscaping company and developed an interest in that as well. He hopes to combine these two skills to pursue a career in ecological restoration. When not at work, Evan enjoys hunting, fishing, and kayaking.
Dianna Herman Office Administrator
Dianna is a CPA with a Master Degree in Business Administration. She has worked most of her career in the manufacturing industry and is easing toward retirement. She works part time at Good Oak, and then spends her afternoons working around her property, taking care of her prairie and woodland.
Allison Eyring-Green Eyring-Green Designs
Allison earned a B.A. in Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois and has over 15 years of experience in landscape design, plant propagation and landscape installation. Though she has had extensive training in traditional landscape design, she has worked almost exclusively with native plants. This combination of formal training and native species savvy allows her to design attractive landscapes with materials few other designers are familiar with. In her spare time Allison volunteers at the UW Arboretum teaching about landscape design and aiding in their natural landscaping efforts.
Joy Follendorf Joyful Gardens Landscape Design
Joy first became interested in plants while working at a retail greenhouse in high school; this led her to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She has continued to work in the horticulture field in Madison for over 10 years now, primarily designing, installing and maintaining residential landscapes. She has great enthusiasm for using native plants and sustainable, environmentally sound landscaping practices. In her free time, she enjoys re-landscaping her own yard, spending time outdoors, hiking, skiing, running, and cooking. Joy operates her own landscaping company, but also works with us regularly to provide landscaping services for our clients.
Ray Murphy Vanaheim Gardens
Ray has been working in the fields of ecological restoration and landscaping for over 20 years. He helps us out in the winter with our invasive brush clearing projects. During the growing season we call on his expertise in stonework whenever we have a walkway or retention wall project to work on. The team-up always yields impressive results.