People and Gardens

February 2013

Caitlin Simkovich joins APGA Team as communications and logistics manager

The American Public Gardens Association (APGA) is pleased to welcome Caitlin Simkovich as its new communications & logistics manager, a role in which she will work to promote APGA’s professional development symposia, annual conferences, and other outstanding programs and benefits.  Originally from West Chester, she joins APGA after spending the last several years working and volunteering with a variety of non-profits in the Seattle, New York City, and Pittsburgh areas; these include The Seattle Architecture Foundation, The New York Road Runners Foundation, and The New York Irish Center.  With a passion for storytelling and an avid belief in promoting the importance of preserving community and culture, she "couldn't be more excited to be a part of such a celebrated organization as APGA!" Please direct all career center and press/media info (including newsletter submissions) to


Santa Fe Botanical Garden hires Clayton Bass as new CEO

Santa Fe Botanical Garden (SFBG) has announced the hiring of Clayton Bass to the position of chief executive officer.  This new position is the result of the organization's transformative growth as it builds the Botanical Garden at Museum Hill, with the Grand Opening of the first phase to take place on July 19, 2013.

SFBG has undergone tremendous change in its twenty-fifth year as a private, non-profit organization. Individual memberships have doubled, business partners have tripled, and a legacy society for planned giving has been formed. In its first year, the latter saw twelve philanthropic households designate SFBG in their planned giving, earmarking a total of $3.5 million in future gifts for the organization. Nine months ago, SFBG relocated its offices to the Udall Museum Resources Building, providing it a location on Museum Hill adjacent to the Botanical Garden project, which broke ground in 2012.   

Bass brings more than 20 years' experience in the non-profit sector, specializing in development and management, most recently with Alexander Haas Fundraising Consultants of Atlanta. At the firm, Bass brought his expertise to a national client base of art, history, science, education and environmental nonprofits. The firm played a role in the success locally of the New Mexico History Museum Campaign.

“We are pleased to bring Clayton’s experience and wisdom to our nonprofit institution,” said Board President Cathy Kalenian. “Clayton not only has an impressive record of leadership but also the ability to raise the overall public profile of the organizations with which he’s been involved.” 

The primary focus of this new position will be to lead the successful completion of the $7.5 million capital campaign currently underway to build the Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill. The campaign has raised nearly a third of its goal to date. Bass will also manage SFBG’s finances, stewardship and development, public relations, and all sources of earned income including individual and business membership, planned giving, endowment and institutional grants.  As chief executive officer, he will also have oversight and management of a fiscally sound operating budget and future staffing needs. 


Filoli announces Cynthia D'Agosta as new executive director

Filoli, a National Trust for Historic Preservation historic site in Woodside, California, has chosen Cynthia D’Agosta as its new executive director. Cynthia D’Agosta holds a masters degree in landscape architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and a BS in science and fine arts from University of California, Santa Cruz. Most recently, she was the executive director of the Committee for Green Foothills (CGF), a fifty-year old open space advocacy nonprofit organization that is an important force in protecting and preserving the hills, forests, creeks, wetlands, and coastal lands in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

Prior to her position as executive director of CGF, Ms. D’Agosta was the first executive director of the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority in Menlo Park. Ms. D’Agosta’s career has also included leadership positions with the Santa Monica Mountains State Conservancy and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation. She states, “My career projects have been focused on creating meaningful public spaces with, and for, communities in Maine, Massachusetts, and California. In my new role as executive director I look forward to combining these career interests and the opportunity to work with people who are passionate about a place such as Filoli.”

Cynthia is a Bay-Area native, having grown up in San Jose, and is also a visual artist who gets her inspirations from landscapes. She began her role as Filoli’s executive director officially on December 1, 2012.


Honoring the life of Joe Oppe

On December 31, 2012, Joseph W. Oppe, 80, passed away peacefully at his home in Parkersburg, West Virginia. 

During his involvement with APGA, he served on numerous advisory committees and boards and was proud to be named Honorary Life Member of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta (APGA's former name).

Click here to read a full memoriam written by G. Shannon Smith, director emeritus of horticulture at Missouri Botanical Garden.



Corporate associate members, Studio Outside, update their team

Andrew Duggan, Brad Goodman, and Paul Freeland have been promoted to principals of Studio Outside and Brian Halsell to associate of the firm, which is located in Dallas, Texas. All three principals joined the team fifteen years ago, and Brian joined eight years ago; all have represented the firm in numerous award-winning projects and successful client relationships.

Andrew Duggan has headed up the master plan for Galveston Island State Park in Galveston, Texas, and the camp master plan for the Forest Preserve District of Chicago Cook County in Illinoise. In addition, he has worked with a number of cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area including Irving, Plano, Southlake, and the City of Dallas. Brad Goodman was responsible for the Tarrant County Community College Downtown Campus in Fort Worth, Texas, and is currently heading up projects in Chicago for General Growth and Diversified Development.

Paul Freeland was the project leader for the Blue Cross Blue Shield campus in Richardson, Texas, and the nationally award-winning Shangri-La Botanical Garden and Nature Center in Orange, Texas, and is currently working in China.

Brian Halsell has led many rooftop pool and amenity deck projects in locations that include Austin, Dallas, and Houston. A master naturalist, he has also been involved with the Bob Jones Nature Center master plan in Southlake and the Conservation Garden plan at the Red Butte Botanic Garden in Salt Lake City.