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Botanical Garden hires development director, kicks off Phase II fundraising

Posted October 29, 2013 in Downtown, Community Web Exclusives

DES MOINES, Iowa (October 29, 2013) –
The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden has hired Debra Peckumn as its first Development Director.  Peckumn will focus on fundraising for Phase II of the Botanical Garden’s capital campaign along with overseeing membership and annual fund development initiatives.

“I wanted to be a part of a team that makes dreams come true for Des Moines,” said Peckumn.  She previously served as Vice President of Principal Gifts at the Mercy Foundation and as Executive Director of Civic Music Association.

“Debra brings 18 years of fundraising experience to this position,” said President and CEO Stephanie Jutila.  “She is uniquely qualified to advance the goals of the Botanical Garden’s campaign, and we are thrilled to have her on our team.”

Armed with a new mission, the Botanical Garden is cultivating a robust future as it advocates for the cultural relevance of plants and gardens.  The Botanical Garden reopened its doors to nearly 2,700 visitors on September 28 after a three-month construction closure.  Construction continues on Phase I exterior gardens, scheduled to open next summer.

The $6.2 million We Are a Garden Now campaign marks the second phase of fundraising for the budding cultural institution.  The campaign will raise money for the development of two additional gardens and expansion of the Botanical Garden’s curation and education activities.

The Botanical Garden also hired its first education and outreach manager, Whitney Bouma, who started September 30.  Bouma will lead multigenerational educational initiatives and develop diverse programming, while capitalizing on the Botanical Garden’s new Botany Education Lab.  She brings a vision for expanding programming to embrace multiculturalism, lifelong learning and visitor engagement.  Bouma holds a B.S. in biology from Iowa State and a M.S. from Victoria University of Wellington in ecology and biodiversity.  Upon completion of her thesis, Whitney worked for the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment on environmental policy.   After returning to Des Moines in 2009, Whitney spent four years as an assistant scientist and laboratory manager in Iowa State University’s Agronomy Department.

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