Botanical Garden hires new executive director

The Botanical Garden Society of the Ozarks Board of Directors announced the hiring of Rae von Holdt as Executive Director after a nationwide search for a candidate to fill the position.

“We set out to find a candidate with a strong background in public garden leadership and non-profit development,” said Bill Dollar, President of the Botanical Garden Society of the Ozarks Board. “After an extensive nationwide search, I’m proud to announce that we have met our goal.”

The Executive Director position will be supported by a three-year, $250,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation. Before hiring von Holdt, the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks had historically been led by volunteer directors.

Previously, von Holdt served as the Executive Director of Iowa Arboretum in Madrid, Iowa for seventeen years. Most recently, she served as Director of Development at Wesley Retirement Services in Johnston, Iowa.

“This is an exciting opportunity for me,” said von Holdt. “The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks is a vibrant organization. I’m very impressed with the community support, board leadership and the garden staff.”

The Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks was opened in 2007 after securing a lease agreement with the City of Fayetteville for around 100 acres of land near Lake Fayetteville. Currently, the Botanical Gardens encompasses a small portion of the land available for development, but Dollar says that von Holdt will be tasked with expanding the gardens even further.

“Rae brings the skills and experience needed to grow the Garden into a showplace for Northwest Arkansas,” Dollar said.

The Botanican Gardens of the Ozarks will hold an open house in January to introduce von Holdt to garden supporters.