Mission Canyon Association

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden's New CEO

Starting December 1, the Botanic Garden will have a new president, Steve Windhager. "Chosen as the Garden's next leader because of the depth of his experience, his passion, and his dynamic leadership style," according to John Wiemann, the search committee Steve Windhagerchair, Windhager comes from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin. There, he was director of landscape restoration for the Sustainable Sites Initiative, an innovative program to create the landscape equivalent of LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) standards. An expert on grasslands restoration and a fire ecologist, Windhager also wrote the section on fire in the Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy published by Gale Press (London) in 2008. When it comes to botanic gardens, Windhager stated in a talk to SBBG members, their key elements should be conservation, applied ecology, sustainable design, and education at all levels, and that gardens could "change the world" through education and leading by example. After taking a look at the Sustainable Sites Initiative website, he may have something there. —Ray Smith