First Lady Carla Markell agrees to chair the Advisory Council

Delaware’s First Lady, Carla Markell, has agreed to serve as the honorary chair of the Advisory Council of the Delaware Botanic Gardens. On April 16 at Woodburn, the official residence of the governor of Delaware, Mrs. Markell met with a delegation from the gardens to review the project to be built in Dagsboro.

“The Delaware Botanic Gardens is a proposal that all Delawareans can embrace” said Mrs. Markell. “I am impressed with the leadership and spirit of volunteerism demonstrated by the citizens who have developed this project,” she added, “and am honored to join with them as the chair of their Advisory Council to help make these gardens a reality for Delaware.”

Mrs. Markell will be leading the Delaware Botanic Gardens Advisory Council, which to date includes Holly Shimizu, Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden; Collin O’Mara, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; and Hugh Leahy, former Senior Vice-President of the Delaware Community Foundation.

This distinguished group of leaders will bring a wide range of experience and knowledge to the project. Mike Zajic, President of the Delaware Botanic Gardens, said, “The First Lady’s leadership and knowledge of our state are invaluable. Holly Shimizu’s role in managing several Botanic Gardens in the United States will enable us to have the benefit of her extensive experience. Secretary Collin O’Mara’s insight and commitment to the environment will ensure that the Delaware Botanic Gardens will be a leader in the stewardship of this beautiful site, and Hugh Leahy’s extensive expertise in financial services and philanthropy will strengthen our planning and development. I and the Board of Directors are very fortunate to have the guidance and advice of these talented, dedicated professionals,” noted Zajic.

The Delaware Botanic Gardens is a ten-year, three-phase plan to bring a world-class public garden to Delmarva. 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, including 1010 feet of tidal waterfront on Pepper Creek. Groundbreaking is planned for early fall 2014, with an opening to the public targeted for June 20, 2016 (the summer solstice).

Learn about and follow the progress of the nonprofit Delaware Botanic Gardens on the web site

Caption: First Lady Carla Markell meets with Delaware Botanic Gardens Board members. From left to right: Sheryl J. Swed, DBG Vice President, First Lady Carla Markell, Elisabeth Zajic, DGB Board member.