The Monk Botanical Gardens is pleased to announce that Darcie E. Howard, Wausau, an experienced manager of environmental facilities and educational programs, has been hired as the Gardens’ first executive director. Howard will be responsible for managing the Monk Gardens’ growing education, fundraising, events, and development programs and will report to the Gardens’ board of directors. Her first day is Monday, August 7.

“We are delighted that Darcie has accepted the position,” said Monk Gardens’ board president Kris Weirauch. “She brings exactly the right kind of training and professional experience we need as the Gardens continue to grow and develop. After years of relying on our hard-working volunteers and community supporters, it is exciting to move to this new level of professional leadership.”

Howard has been managing environmental education facilities for 14 years. She was the first director of the Montana Audubon Center in Billings, responsible for directing strategy, raising funds and implementing programs involved in the restoration of that facility. Her experience includes grant writing, donor development, capital campaigns, volunteer involvement, and community partnerships. She holds a master’s degree in conservation and biodiversity biology from the University of Leeds.

“The Monk Botanical Gardens are in an exciting place of development and implementation of the Garden’s vision,” Howard said. “Already there are so many great features that provide the community a peaceful and engaging outdoor space, including the new Kitchen Garden. This is an innovative feature that has the potential to reach more than the typical garden user.”

“I look forward to leading the Gardens in its mission to foster sustainability and environmental stewardship while continuing its development of the site and programs and increasing the organization’s overall capacity.”

The Monk Botanical Gardens occupy 21 acres on the West Side of Wausau, Wisconsin, at 1800 N. First Ave. They are named for the family of the late Robert W. Monk, who donated the land for development of an outstanding public garden. Officially incorporated as a nonprofit institution in 2003, the Monk Botanical Gardens seeks to promote understanding of the aesthetic, economic, and ecological role of plants.