Susan Ryan named president of the Delaware Botanic Gardens

Cape Gazette | May 5, 2015

The Board of the Delaware Botanic Gardens has announced that Susan Ryan, owner of Good Earth Farm and Markets, has been selected to become its new president. Ryan said, "I am honored to take on this responsibility and look forward to finishing the job that Mike Zajic has started. The board that we have created, the advisory council members who we have recruited and the private-sector contractors who we have attracted to this project will enable us to move forward successfully."

After three demanding years of dedicated time and devotion as president of DBG, Zajic asked the board to accept his resignation. The DBG officer's succession plan which Zajic had initiated earlier this year called for the vice president, Ryan, to succeed to the DBG presidency. Ryan said, "Building a first-class botanic gardens is a major undertaking. We had no illusions when Mike started this effort that it could well take longer than any of our terms on the board. It is always sad when an organization loses its founder. We are all very proud of what has been accomplished with Mike's leadership. I am confident that all our supporters and members will continue their interest and generosity to the Delaware Botanic Gardens. I know we all look forward to walking the Delaware Botanic Gardens with Mike."

Carla Markell, chair of the Delaware Botanic Gardens Advisory Council, said "I know that all the members of the advisory council greatly appreciate the initiative and vision which Mike Zajic has brought to this project. It is a great credit to him to have recruited such a talented board and to have such an energetic, recognized leader like Susan Ryan ready to assume the leadership of this important project." Zajic has accepted the invitation from Markell and the DBG board to join the DBG advisory council with the title of DBG founder.

Ryan is a well-known Sussex entrepreneur who has created Good Earth Market & Organic Farm on Route 26 in Clarksville and Good Earth Market on Route 1 in Rehoboth Beach. She is a founder of the farmers market movement, a leader in organic farming and the farm-to-table concept, and active in the Delaware Agritourism Association.

Ryan said, "Fortunately we have a great reservoir of talent on our board. I have asked Sheryl J. Swed to become our full-time executive director, Raymond Sander to move from treasurer to vice president, and David Green to become our treasurer. Ptery Iris will continue as our very capable secretary, and Gregg Tepper, DBG director of horticulture, has been made a full member of the board. This will ensure that we will have an orderly transition and a seamless continuation of our project."

The Delaware Botanic Gardens has a 10-year, multiphase plan to bring a sense of place to Delmarva with a major public garden that reflects southern Delaware's unique coastal plain. Its mission is to create inspirational, educational and sustainable gardens in Delaware for the benefit and enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. The gardens will be located on 37 acres along Piney Neck Road near Dagsboro in Sussex County. The parcel has an ideal mix of farmland, woodland and over 1,000 feet of tidal waterfront on Pepper Creek. Learn about and follow the progress of the nonprofit Delaware Botanic Gardens at www.DelawareGardens.org