Botanic Garden Board of Directors
EVA POWERS, President
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.
Previously garden’s Education Director, she managed and scheduled 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.
PUCK ERICKSON LOHNAS, Vice President
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, Secretary and Legal Counsel
Brendan acts as the Foundation's treasurer 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.
ANNALISA NEARN, Teasurer
Annalisa is the principal at Nearn and Associates, located in Los Olivos, California. Annalisa specializes in Management Consulting Services business / industry within the Engineering, Accounting, Research, and Management Services sector. Nearn and Associates is actively operating since 2010. Annalisa, a mother of two, is an avid SYV community volunteer and is often opening up her home to Danish exchange-students.
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 and began her 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
An Art Major graduate from University of Wisconsin-Parkside with concentration in graphic design, he pursued further education in photography at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara. Currently Derek has his own photography and design business and studio and has a range of clients seeking photography, design and advertising strategy.
Suzi Matthies is a long resident of the Valley. She and her family, husband Paul and daughters Kath and Beth, moved to the valley fourty-four years ago. Suzi taught at Solvang School for many happy years, teaching ESL, fourth, and fifth grades and if really pressed, junior high art and writing. Throughout her time at Solvang, she was able to teach Gifted and Talented classes, something she really loved to do.
Outside of work, many activities keep her busy including horseback riding, roller-blading, skiing, hiking, biking, painting, reading, music and gardening. Being outdoors and creating an attractive garden are immensely satisfying, and doing so for the public to enjoy is even more gratifying. She hopes the Botanic Garden will be an attraction and place of fulfillment for many people for years to come.
Tracy Roberts was the Director/Teacher of a parent participation preschool in Huntington Beach for six years. In addition to her administrative functions, she taught 3 classes of children ranging in age from 2 year olds to 6 year olds and conducted parent education in different areas of child development.
Tracy received her BA in social science from the University of California, Irvine and finished up her MA thesis on Parental Attitudes Towards Computer Use with Young Children in the Child Development department at California State University, Long Beach. Tracy also graduated from the Waldorf Institute of Southern California in May 2015 and is an accredited Waldorf teacher. In 2015, she completed the process to become an Attachment Parenting Leader through Attachment Parenting International. In addition, she has completed a three year training with the Academy of Forest Kindergarten Teachers. Through her continuing education and in the readings of several educational theorists, such as Alfie Kohn, Bev Bos, Rudolph Steiner, William Sears and Thomas Gordon, Tracy has developed a philosophy for her teaching and her school that is not commonly found.
In September 2012, Tracy started Acorn Cottage, a Waldorf inspired early childhood nursery program in her home along with the attached forest school, Acorn Village, where they spend time playing in nature as well. In 2016, Tracy followed her passions and has invested all her time in Acorn Village Forest School.
Tracy is married to Josh, a private school math teacher and has two little boys. Besides working with children, her passion most definitely lies with educating new parents on issues related to birth, babyhood, discipline, effects of media, and more. She has been giving parenting workshops in these topics for the past eleven years in addition to starting Parenting Pathways, a parenting seminar.
In her spare time, Tracy enjoys reading, gardening, learning how to be Earth conscious in all her practices, playing tennis, camping, spending time with loved ones, and finding any chance she can to build a tree house or fort with the children in her life.
Julio is an Environmental Technician at Santa Ynez Valley Band of Chumash. He is involved with all aspects of the Chumash Environmental Office from landscaping, the Chumash BioFuel Program, Water Quality monitoring and the Community Energy Program. He has a degree in horticulture and is a certified Permaculture Designer. Julio is overseeing the SYV Botanic Gardens interpretive Chumash section of the garden and actively involved with education programs, events and classes taking place at the garden.