Ventura Botanical Gardens appoints leadership

Derrick Wilson’s background includes working in public services for the County of Santa Barbara and the County of Ventura.

Ventura Botanical Gardens (VBG), a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a world-class botanical garden and cultural landmark, announces the appointment of Derrick Wilson as the 2021 Board President.

Derrick Wilson’s background includes working in public services for the County of Santa Barbara and the County of Ventura respectively for nearly three decades. In his current role as a VC Public Works Agency manager, he oversees strategic planning and process improvement initiatives. Over the years, he has also worked as a caseworker, staff development trainer, and project manager. His background in administrative services, coupled with leading teams and projects, benefits the Ventura Botanical Gardens as the organization moves into Phase II planning. He joined the VBG board of directors in 2016 and most recently held the role of Vice President. He is the organization’s first black president.

“I am enthusiastic about the great potential the Gardens have attracting a broad range of visitors from all over the world. During the pandemic, VBG has provided a place for visitors to come that is both safe and beautiful. I am also proud to be a part of what this gem provides for the City of Ventura, for those who live and work here. It is a wonderful place to enjoy the outdoors and learn about nature,” states Derrick Wilson.

In addition to Mr. Wilson’s appointment, Isabel Callaway is continuing her role as VBG Vice President for 2021. She is a real estate agent for Berkshire Hathaway and has served on the board since 2015. Other board members include Laurence Nicklin, Kevin Clerici, Terry Sommer, Tracy Long, Barbara Brown, Phil White, Kathy McGee, Sabrena Rodriguez, Joe Cahill, Lane Lopez, and Mary Kay Doubek.

Located at Grant Park in the City of Ventura, the Ventura Botanical Gardens’ goals include encouraging visitors to strengthen their connection to nature. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 5pm — closed on Mondays. Admission is $7— members are free, children 18 and under are free, and EBT cardholders are free. Fridays are also free. Leashed dogs are welcome on Wednesdays and Fridays. COVID protocols are in play. Masks are required for entrance and must be worn within 6 feet of others. During the pandemic, restrooms are closed.

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The Ventura Botanical Gardens is located at 567 S. Poli St. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to creating a botanical garden for the twenty-first century celebrating the Mediterranean climate regions. The setting is a world-class site with spectacular 360-degree views of the California coast, the Channel Islands and Ojai’s Topa Topa mountain range. VBG will continue to create new outdoor opportunities including training, research, and educational programs ranging from horticulture and botany to sustainability.

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