Frances Brandon, President, served in a management capacity and as a special projects administrator overseeing multimillion dollar statewide projects during her 30 years of service with the State of California. She is a certified facilitator and mediator, and has earned multiple certificates in Management and Horticulture. She is a Master Gardener certified by that organization to train “Sustainable Landscaping” and “Edible Landscaping” to members and the general public. Ms. Brandon holds a business license for landscape design and consulting and has become an historian of large public parks and gardens in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and South America.

Ron Allison, Founding Director, Vice President and past president of the Board for 6 years, is a landscape architect specializing in custom residential landscape design. During his tenure with California’s Department of State Parks and Recreation and Department of Transportation, his work included interpretive and master planning for historical state parks and landscape design. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly, Pomona. Mr. Allison has served on the Sierra Chapter Board of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the California Landscape Contractors Association, and is a past member of the Environmental Council of Sacramento and a past affiliate member of the Building Industry Association of Northern California.

Dick Pryor, Treasurer, worked for the California Department of Transpas an Office Manager responsible for the preparation of plans and specifications for landscape designs and erosion control of major highway projects. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Landscape Architecture from Iowa State University. Mr. Pryor has actively served on various local and state professional boards and is a past president of the California Council of Landscape Architects.

Deborah Thomas-Smith, J.D., Secretary, whose work includes Insurance Claim consultation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Connecticut College and a Juris Doctorate in Law from the American College of Law.  She has also taught Political Science at the college level and has a strong interest in building a botanical garden that educates children and youth.

Ms. Smith is certified in landscape design, conflict management and mediation, and writes grant proposals. She has also worked in the insurance industry managing commercial liability civil litigation, including construction defect and environmental claims includes consultation on community garden design and implementing sustainable practices.

Kent Gordon England, Director, Kent has dedicated over four decades to the pursuit of reuniting people, Nature and the built environment. His designs reflect this principle, and he writes, speaks and consults professionally regarding the importance of aligning business, sustainability and personal well-being.

With a lifetime dedicated to design and preservation, his professional projects includes high end residential commissions, creative commercial projects, as well as wildlife habitat restoration. As a master of the decorative and architectural arts, his distinctive studio work provides beautiful adornments to fine architecture, interiors and gardens worldwide.

Serving on numerous local, state and national boards, Kent brings broad leadership experience to our organization. With his high energy and genuine love for others, he is delighted to be a part of preserving the story of California’s diverse people, plants and culture.

Charles Allison, Director of Events, Charles Allison, is a television, event production, and project management professional with 25+ years experience in the professional sports and entertainment industry, including a 20 year career with the Sacramento Kings. He works with the Sacramento Republic FC, where he has helped produce an Emmy-Award winning USL Championship broadcast.

He also works as a creative production & project management consultant, serving clients in the healthcare, home improvement, and the tourism/destination marketing sectors.

Mr. Allison holds a B.A. degree in Broadcasting from Gonzaga University. A native of Sacramento and lifelong resident, he believes strongly in the importance of establishing a botanical garden to share the legacy of the rich history of our state with future generations and create a platform from which our region can engage in the global conversation around sustainability and the environment.

Nancy Wise-Hutton, Director and Web Site Manager, co-founded NetWorks Events, an event promotion and fundraising business. She has vast experience in media communication, event coordination and advertising, and has been a guest lecturer on visual design for Ashland University and the University of Akron. She has won multiple honors in media communications and advertising and served as Assistant Director of the Porterville Chamber of Commerce and co-chaired their successful bid to be named All America City.

Roger Taylor, DDS, Director is co-founder/director/vice chairman of the board for the American River Bank, American River Bankshares, and American River Bankshares Foundation. He is also director of Community Vision Inc. in El Dorado Hills. Dr. Taylor graduated from the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry and founded the Orchard Dental Group in Fair Oaks, CA, from which he is now retired.


ASLA Liaison

Dalton LaVoie, Liaison to American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), brings considerable experience in the development of large private & public sector projects. Dalton is LEED AP credentialed.

He  has professional experience on a broad range of public and private sector projects including streetscapes, park master plans and renovations, recreational facilities, transportation planning documents, transportation enhancements, public infrastructure facilities, bridges, healthcare facilities, master planned communities, waterfront planning and design, mixed-use developments and environmental impact analysis.