People and Gardens

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden announced that Dr. Steve Windhager has accepted the position of President and CEO. After months of conducting a nationwide search, the Board unanimously chose Windhager because of his depth of his experience, his passion, and his dynamic leadership style. Windhager comes to the Botanic Garden from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas, where he was Director of the Landscape Restoration Program and The Sustainable Sites Initiative. For more information on The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, click here.


Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden of Claremont, California, announced the opening of a second location of Grow Native Nursery. The 15-acre garden and nursery, located on the grounds of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System was established in 1989 as part of the VA’s Horticulture Therapy Program, a work therapy program to assist veterans making the transition back to civilian employment. The Grow Native Nursery staff will collaborate with the Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System to train veterans on the propagation, care, and maintenance of California native plants. The partnership between Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, which began in January 2010, will offer a new focus on native flora as well as sustainable landscaping and gardening practices. In addition to occupational therapy for the veterans, the project will offer nursery sales of California native plants to the public. For more information on Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, click here.


On October 5, the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania celebrated the dedication of its new $13 million Horticulture Center Complex, a project that has been in the planning for more than 25 years. The new 20,840-square-foot complex will provide office space for the horticulture staff to manage its extensive responsibilities for the Morris Arboretum’s 167-acre property, in addition to enhancing research opportunities by providing additional room for preserving and studying the Arboretum’s plant collection. It will also provide suitable storage and maintenance areas for the variety of equipment needed to care for the Morris Arboretum property. For more information on the Morris Arboretum, click here.


Leach Garden in Portland, Oregon, announced that David Porter has accepted the position of Executive Director. Porter brings to Leach Garden a wealth of experience in non-profit management, including working with board members, staff and volunteers in strategic planning and in fundraising. He joins the Leach Garden community after serving as the executive director of organizations as diverse as Pioneer Courthouse Square and the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center - positions that often involved organizational transformation and renewal. David has also served as a board member for Oregon’s Travel Information Council and the Western Museums Association. For more information on Leach Garde, click here.


The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy was awarded $500,000 in state funding, thanks to support from Pennsylvania State Representative Jake Wheatley, for work in Beltzhoover's McKinley Park and the Hill District's Cliffside Park. Cliffside Playground, off Cliff Street in the Hill District, features a striking view of the Allegheny River and the Strip District that has been compromised by lack of maintenance. Restoring the play space as well as the surrounding area will take advantage of the location's potential and reintegrate it into the rich outdoor life of the neighborhood. Cliffside Park is envisioned as a community gathering space that encourages young children's physical and social development and strengthens their connection to nature. For more information on the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, click here.


The Board of Directors of the Bickelhaupt Arboretum in Clinton, Iowa, announced that Margo Hansen has accepted the position of Director of Programs for the fourteen-acre outdoor museum. Hansen, a leader in the horticulture community in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois for two decades, will work with Arboretum horticulturist, Dave Horst as the Arboretum begins its fourth decade as a privately funded private garden. Founded by Frances and Bob Bickelhaupt in 1970, the garden has grown to become an attraction for visitors in Clinton and the surrounding area. The Arboretum features the Heartland Collection of Garden Conifers and more than 2000 select labeled hardy trees, shrubs, ground covers, perennials, and annuals. For more information on the Bickelhaupt Arboretum, click here.


Peter H. Raven, president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden, is among 50 individuals from 26 countries to receive the Friendship Award from the Chinese government. The award, presented on September 29 in China, honors Raven for promoting friendly interchange with the Chinese people over the course of three decades. The award commemorates his efforts over the past 20 years as co-chairman of the editorial committee of the Flora of China, an international project describing the 31,500 species of plants in China. The project will be completed in 2013. [Photo credit: Kristi Foster, Courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden]. For more information on Missouri Botanical Garden, click here.