The Delaware Botanic Gardens is governed by a Board of Directors, with professional advice from an Advisory Council. Both include members well versed in aspects of governing a nonprofit public garden.
Board of Directors
President Raymond Sander in the woodlands at the Delaware Botanic Gardens.
Raymond J. Sander, President
Ray Sander holds a M.A. in government and politics and served in the federal government for thirty-three-years, the majority as a Senior Service Executive. He began his public service at the Central Intelligence Agency and then served with the U.S. Department of Justice, where he became the assistant director of the Management and Budget Staff with oversight of the department's law enforcement agencies and programs. At the U.S. Department of Transportation, he was the director of the Office of Management Planning and executive director of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, where he was responsible for the management of the $4 billion budget and a staff of 250.
Sheryl Swed ‘s past work includes experience in both the public and nonprofit sectors. She served the U.S government for more than 25 years in various positions, including work at the Commission on Civil Rights, International Women’s Year Commission, and U.S. Small Business Administration. In the nonprofit world she served for eight years as elected president of the U.S. Committee on UN Women. A graduate of the University of Delaware and the University of Wyoming, Sheryl has had a summer home in Bethany Beach since 1986 and since 2010 has been a full-time resident.
Janet Meenehan Point, Secretary
Janet Point is an experienced communications and investor relations executive with an extensive financial background and capital markets experience. Most recently she served as an executive vice president for InterDigital, Inc., of Wilmington. Her previous positions were with Corporate Office Properties Trust, Advanta Corporation, Fannie Mae, and Sallie Mae. She is also a member of the Sussex Gardeners and an avid gardener.
Bob Batley is vice president of marketing and business development for Bancroft Construction Company, which specializes in construction management for science, technology, education, and corporate entities. One of its most recent clients is the Delaware Botanic Gardens. Batley has more than twenty-five years of experience in executive leadership, customer service, and strategic planning. He is a Fellow of Leadership Philadelphia and serves on numerous nonprofit boards. Batley has won the highest civilian honor from the Veterans Administration and was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Chester County Chamber of Commerce.
Ruth Rogers Clausen
Ruth Clausen is a garden writer who was trained in horticulture at Studley College in England and Kent State University in Ohio. In the 1970s she headed the School of Professional Horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden. Her book Perennials for American Gardens, coauthored with Nicolas Ekstrom, was awarded the Quill and Trowel Award of the Garden Writers of America Association in 1990. Other books include Dreamscaping (2001), 50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants (2011), and Essential Perennials (2015), with Thomas Christopher. She serves on numerous garden committees and lives in Easton, Maryland.
A Wilmington native, Carol McCloud is the president of the Barefoot Gardeners Club in Fenwick Island and a State Life Member of the Delaware Federation of Garden Clubs. For several years, she has been a volunteer for the Delaware Botanic Gardens, which reminds her of her childhood experiences at Valley Garden Park in Wilmington; her father, an avid gardener, would take her there on many outings.
He later served as director of trade and commercial programs at the American Institute in Taiwan, where, he led more than fifty-five negotiations on financial services, investments, banking and insurance, and the protection of intellectual property. After leaving the public sector, Ray spent nearly a decade in the private sector in the area of international trade and business, working in East Asia, China, India, South America, Africa, and Eastern Europe as the senior vice president, International Government Affairs, at New York Life Insurance Company and then as an independent consultant to Abbott Laboratories. Ray previously served as DBG's treasurer and vice president.
Richard W. Weissmann,
Corporate Treasurer (non-board)
A former CPA, Rich Weissmann also held the designation of Certified Information Systems Auditor and was an active member of the AICPA and the Institute of Internal Auditors. He began his career at what is now KPMG, later joined International Paper Company, and has served as vice president and director of internal audit at several companies. For the consulting firm Experis he oversaw financial, operational, and regulatory reviews in a variety of industries. He now lives with his wife, Patti Drago, in Lewes, where he volunteers for the Lewes Historical Society and Cape Henlopen State Park.
Gregory D. Tepper,
Director of Horticulture
Gregory Tepper, director of horticulture, comes to DBG from Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Delaware, where he served as horticulturist, woods path horticulturist, and director of horticulture. A native plant enthusiast since age thirteen, he studied horticulture at the University of Delaware and went on to start his own business designing and managing private gardens. Gregg has lectured on native plants in the United States and in Great Britain. He volunteers at the Philadelphia International Flower Show and pursues botanical excursions to study plant communities.
Peter E. Carter
Peter Carter was a successful and innovative K-12 school administrator. Having served as superintendent of several school districts in New Jersey and a principal in both New Jersey and Delaware, he brings special knowledge of what the Delaware Botanic Gardens should do and can do for the children of southern Delaware and the region. A resident of Lewes, he has served as president of his current homeowners association and an officer of two former associations.
David C. Doane
David Doane, CPA, has since 2002 has been president of Jefferson, Urian, Doane & Sterner, P.A. He serves as a county adviser to the Delaware Community Foundation and in 2009–10 was president of the Delaware State Board of Accountancy. He has been an adviser to several local banks, as well as an auditor for the town of Georgetown and the Easter Seals Society of Del-Mar. Doane has also held leadership positions with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Delaware Society of Public Accountants, Delaware Technical and Community College, Pyle Center Trust, and Rehoboth–Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce, of which he was president.
“What an opportunity to help to preserve the natural environment of the area,” she says of DBG. With a background in payroll and benefits and computer software programs, McCloud is retired from W. L. Gore and Associates in Newark, Delaware. In 2010 she and her husband, John, moved full time to Fenwick Island, where she is a member of the Fenwick Island Historical Group and also volunteers with the town’s dune grass planting and its annual Earth Day cleanup.
(Jennifer Corbett, News Journal)
The Advisory Council is a group of distinguished public- and private-sector leaders who are assisting in the creation of the Delaware Botanic Gardens. They represent a wide variety of disciplines underpinning the garden's development and operation.
Carla Markell, Chair
Former First Lady of Delaware
Corporate chef, SoDel Concepts
Founder, DeWitt & Associates, Inc.
Owner, London Landscapes LLC, an award-winning designer of personal landscapes and outdoor spaces
Former executive, Delaware Community Foundation
Director, National Wildlife Federation, and former secretary, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Donald A. Rakow
Associate professor, Cornell University School of Integrative Plant Science, codirector of the Cornell Graduate Program in Public Garden Leadership, and coauthor of Public Garden Management
Michael E. Riska
Former executive director,
Delaware Nature Society
Rodney Robinson, FASLA, PLA
Landscape architect and designer, including restoration of the Nemours and Woodburn gardens
Owner, Good Earth Farm and Organic Market, and past president, Delaware Botanic Gardens
Nelson J. Shaffer
Executive vice president, Pennoni Associates Inc.
Former Secretary, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Executive director emerita, United States Botanic Garden, and honorary life member, American Public Gardens Association
Professor of entomology and wildlife ecology, University of Delaware
Planting designer and ecological sales manager, North Creek Nurseries, and coauthor, Planting in a Post-Wild World.
Founding president of Delaware Botanic Gardens and former horticultural supervisor at Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, Maryland
Advisory Council members, from left to right by row: Ronnie Burkle, Henry DeWitt, Barbara Katz, Hugh Leahy, Collin O'Mara, Don Rakow, Michael Riska, Rodney Robinson, Susan Ryan, Nelson Shaffer, Holly Shimizu, David Small, Doug Tallamy, Claudia West, and Michael Zajic
Our leaders in print and on video
Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes – October 7, 2015
by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West (Advisory Council member)
This groundbreaking guide presents a powerful alternative to traditional horticulture—designed plantings that function like naturally occurring plant communities. Thomas Rainer and Claudia West, two leading voices in ecological landscape design, reveal how plants fit together in nature and how to use this knowledge to create landscapes that are resilient, beautiful, and diverse. As practical as it is inspiring, Planting in a Post-Wild World is an optimistic manifesto pointing the way to the future of planting design.
Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded – 2009
by Douglas W. Tallamy (Advisory Council member)
Bringing Nature Home has sparked a national conversation about the link between healthy local ecosystems and human well-being, and the new paperback edition ― with an expanded resource section and updated photos ― will help broaden the movement. By acting on Douglas Tallamy's practical recommendations, everyone can make a difference.
Public Garden Management: A Complete Guide to the Planning and Administration of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta 2nd Edition
by Donald Rakow (Advisory Council member) and Sharon Lee
Public Garden Management is an all-in-one professional reference and textbook that clearly shows how to develop, establish, manage and maintain a sustainable (both economically and environmentally) public garden. Written by thirty leading experts, the book offers practical coverage of the relevant topics, with supporting case studies that show how the information can be applied with the help of line drawings and photographs that assist in conveying critical information.
When this DVD was made, Holly Shimizu was executive director of the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., and remains one of the most knowledgeable experts on herb gardening. She has lectured extensively, has written on a variety of horticultural subjects, and served on the advisory boards of the American Horticultural Society and the American Botanical Council. Previously, Holly was the first curator of the National Herb Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum and received the Herb Society of America's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Horticulture.
Available online from Amazon.com or local booksellers.
Banner photograph: DBG board members at an April 30, 2016, fundraiser for the garden, from left to right: Gregg Tepper, Sheryl Swed, and Ray Sander. Photograph by John Boggan of DC Tropics
Header photographs, from left to right: Governor Jack Markell and Carla Markell at DBG's 2015 farm dinner with Sheryl Swed, Susan Ryan, David Ryan and Ray Sander. Gregg Tepper and Governor Markell. Susan Ryan and Nelson Shaffer. Photographs by Ann Margaret Donato. Carla Markell and Sheryl Swed. Kelly Sheridan and Peter Carter. Ray Sander. Photographs by Raymond Bojarski