Delaware Botanic Gardens welcomes new advisory board members

August 9, 2022

Ray Sander, Delaware Botanic Gardens president, and David Small, Delaware Botanic Gardens Advisory Council chair, recently announced three new advisory council members.

They are Jeremy Hager, former DBG board member; Dan Barbato, Pennoni Associates vice president; and Dan Levin, SoDel Concepts director of operations.

Small said, “The DBG Advisory Council is a group of distinguished thought leaders who have brought their extensive knowledge, insights and experience to the DBG mission of creating a world class public garden in Delaware.”

Sander said, “We are very proud that these three proven leaders have joined the DBG advisory team and expect them to bring new creative ideas to the table as we continue to grow the Delaware Botanic Gardens.”

Hager served with distinction for three years as a DBG board member and special advisor on the safety and health of the woodlands. He is president and founder of the Land Care Advisory Group and Coastal Plant Care in Ocean View. An ISA Certified Master Arborist, Hager has demonstrated a passion for educating the public about tree and environmental stewardship. He studied entomology and environmental resource management, horticulture at Virginia Tech.

Barbato is a civil engineer at Pennoni Associates and director of the firm’s Newark office. He has 27 years of experience in civil engineering, habitat restoration and water resource projects. Barbato has a record of distinguished community service in leadership positions at the Delaware Nature Society. He is a mentor of STEM students and young environmentalists, and has been actively involved in several Delaware Botanic Garden Projects.

“I am well aware of the important conservation and wildlife preservation role that Delaware Botanic Gardens plays in Sussex County. I am proud to continue my active role in this amazing nonprofit public garden enterprise,” said Barbato.

Born and raised in Wilmington, Levin began his career at SoDel Concepts in 2012, working his way through various capacities from line cook to expeditor to operations director. He is a member of the HaleyKammerer Consulting and Highwater Management team. “I am honored to join the Delaware Botanic Gardens volunteer team and follow in the footsteps of SoDel Chef Ronnie Burke,” said Levin.

Sheryl Swed, DBG executive director, said, “The dedication and inspirational leadership of the advisory council have helped DBG become a reality. We are honored that Jeremy Hager will continue to serve DBG, and that Dan Barbato and Dan Levin have agreed to share their proven leadership talents as we continue this adventure to build a flagship public garden on Delmarva.”

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