Botanic Garden Board Members


Puck Erickson Lohnas is a principal of Arcadia Studio and has worked in the field of landscape architecture since 1977.  She, along with her partners, established Arcadia Studio in 2001 to create a full service firm, which emphasizes the collaborative design process as a fundamental component of site-specific design. She brings that spirit of collaboration in to the community by working on a range of projects including the updating of the University of California Santa Barbara campus landscape plan, working with public and private schools in the Santa Ynez Valley planting native plants, and lecturing on environmentally conscious landscape design strategies.  


BRENDAN DOHERTY, Teasurer and Legal Counsel

Brendan acts as the Foundation's secretary and legal counsel, and liaison with the Teen Court program.  He grew up in Santa Ynez and currently maintains a law practice in Solvang. He continues to enjoy the area's outdoor opportunities, from hiking and birding to vegetable gardening.  



EVA  POWERS,  Education Director and Event Coordinator

Eva is the owner of Creative Garden Design 805 with 20 years of landscape Design experience in Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara County. Eva is a garden column writer for Santa Ynez Valley News, a wife of 31 years to her husband Warren, and mother of their two children.

As the botanic garden’s Education Director, she manages and schedules a growing list of exciting and educational school field trips and classes, hosted either at the SYV Botanic Garden or in the local area. Eva is also involved in coastal preservation, seeking protection of what undeveloped land that is left in Santa Barbara County, protecting our wildlife, native fauna and promoting managed public access. 

STEVE SCHULZ, Garden Coordinator

Steve moved to the Santa Ynez Valley in 1963, graduating from Santa Ynez High School in 1975.  After working as a fisherman and serving in the U.S. Navy, Steve graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a Bachelors of Science in Landscape Architecture in 1993.  While working in his own landscape business, Steve was shot in an attempted car-jacking leaving him a paraplegic.  After his release from the hospital, Steve moved back to Solvang.

He became involved with the nature programs at the Sedgwick Reserve, becoming a docent and starting a native plant nursery and seed bank for on-site restoration projects.  He is one of the founders of the Botanic Garden, playing a key role in path layout and master planning.  Steve serves as our ‘hands on’ presence in the Garden, leading volunteer groups, building accessible trails, spearheading on-going planting programs and coordinating maintenance. 


KAREN JOHNSON,  Friends of the Garden

Karen Johnson is a resident of Solvang and has been involved with community enhancement with many local organizations.  She was one of the original organizers of the Garden Tours sponsored by the Santa Ynez Historical Society and has used her own garden to educate her neighborhood on the values of drought tolerant landscape and native plantings.  As an experienced educator, she has been involved in the building of the Garden's outdoor educations programs.  Karen is also working with the development of the Garden’s support group, Friends of the Garden.


DR. HELGA GEORGE, Technical Support and Data Coordination

Helga George has been an avid horticulturalist since childhood.  In addition, she has a long-term interest in the chemicals that plants make and use to defend themselves.  Helga obtained a B.S. in Agriculture with a specialization in plant science from Cornell University, an M.S. in Plant Pathology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Cornell University.  After performing 20 years of research in the plant sciences, most recently at UCSB, Helga switched to freelance writing and broadened her skills to include copywriting.  Not surprisingly, she calls her writing business Plants Rule®. 


BETHANY CLOUGH, board member

A licensed Landscape Architect for over 20 years, Bethany has practiced in southern and central coast of California. I began my own firm in 2005. Bethany was originally involved with the initial irrigation and circulation design and plans for the SYV Botanic Garden. She has recently become involved as a board member.

Specialties: Native, water conserving, and wildfire aware planting design combined with expertise in water-wise irrigation design; familiarity with LEED certification and sustainable design solutions; planning and conceptual design through construction observation services.




DEREK GLAS, Photographer, Social Media & Web Management


Kyle Abello, City Liaison to SYV Botanic Garden Foundation
Buellton Recreation Coordinator