Liz Dengate: director and lead educator (she/her)

Liz grew up in and just outside of Detroit, MI, where her parents took her and her brother (Andrew – see below!) camping all over the state and beyond. She went on to study Environmental Studies and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, and get an M.S. degree there in Conservation Ecology. She’s worked as a park ranger for the National Park Service, coordinating community education programs at the Minnesota Zoo, and as the Education & Outreach Coordinator for the Dakota County Soil & Water Conservation District. She also volunteers regularly with the Sierra Club group Inspiring Connections Outdoors, taking youth on outdoor day trips around the Twin Cities. She currently lives in Minneapolis, MN. You can contact her at 

Niko Kubota: design and art contributor; construction; content consultant (he/him)

Niko was born in upstate New York but grew up mostly in South Minneapolis, with a few years spent in Japan. He studied sociology at Bowdoin College in Maine, then received a master of architecture degree at the University of Minnesota. He’s worked as an architectural designer for LSE Architects and Cuningham Group Architecture, and also works for Juxtaposition Arts, leading youth in design work in the Enviro lab. He’s also a public artist, with work that includes mini_Polis in downtown Minneapolis (winner of the 2015 Creative City Challenge), the MeTeaTa Cart, and a bench that tells the story of local residents in the LynLake area. He currently lives in Minneapolis, MN. You can contact him at 

Andrew Dengate: logo; graphic design; design and content consultant (he/him)

Andrew studied Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. He’s worked across the country for outdoor gear companies, guiding adventure trips for youth, and for ski resorts. He’s currently a ski patroller and Coordinator of Training for Arapahoe Basin in Summit County, CO; staff and art curator for the Crown coffee shop; and an artist. He works as a painter, graphic designer, and tattoo artist. Some of his other design clients include the City of Breckenridge, WilCor, Volkom skis, and Arapahoe Basin, and he’s completed multiple artists-in-residencies. He currently lives in Breckenridge, CO. You can contact him at 

Temesgen Besha: core designer of the physical Sidewalk Plant Lab (he/him)

Temesgen (who also goes by Temu) is a 19-year-old Senior High School student at Wellstone International High School. He is also a full-time PSEO student at MCTC (Minneapolis College). Temu likes art and design, and has worked as an apprentice at Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) since 2018, where he’s studying how to use Sketchup and 3D modeling. He’s contributed to many projects through JXTA; one of the main projects was an art piece that will be displayed permanently at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. 

Robyn Char: education consultant; educator (she/her)

Robyn is a full-time third-grade teacher in Minneapolis, camp leader, and youth theater and music facilitator. She has an extensive background in environmental and outdoor education, theater and youth theater. She currently lives in Saint Paul, MN.

Fawkes Steinwand: native plant enthusiast and expert; educator (they/them)

Fawkes works for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and previously worked for the National Park Service. They studied conservation biology and have an extensive knowledge of native plants, plant ecology, and how plants affect our environment. They currently live in Saint Paul, MN.

Support for the Sidewalk Plant Lab generously provided by the Seward Neighborhood Group

A huge thank you to Karen Katz and Patrick Dengate for their help constructing the physical Sidewalk Plant Lab!

We share data with the Urban Biodiversity Research Coordination Network (UrBioNet.)