Board of Directors
POSITIVE NELSON is a spiritually, culturally, and socially conscious community activist. A former USVI senator, he is currently Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture.He founded and directs “Positive Works, Inc.,” a youth organization; created “OVILU,” an independent labor union; and founded and advised “Accountants on the Rise”, an accounting club at St. Croix Career and Technical Educational Complex where he taught accounting.
Positive also conducts annual events such as “Unity Retreat Camp,” Senior Citizen Brunch, Emancipation Day: Fort to Fort Walk, is an annual vendor at St. Croix Agriculture and Food Fair and is an inspirational and motivating speaker at numerous events. He has also farmed for the past seven years at Serenity’s Nest, his Zen Garden.
LESLIE CORRADO STILLWAGON has been involved at the Garden for over two years. Leslie was in the process of landscaping her then new home on St Croix after Hurricane Maria when she wandered into the Garden looking for some local plant information. She instantly fell in love with the Garden the minute she entered the front gates and knew that she needed to be part of this wonderful and beautiful island jewel. Leslie became a board member soon after meeting Amy and Dewey and has loved being part of the Board at the Garden ever since. Having worked as an event professional for over 20 years, Leslie’s energy is largely focused on creating and supporting social events and fundraisers at the Garden. Leslie built her career in San Francisco and now resides between Philadelphia and St Croix. She and her husband David have three young sons who keep them hopping. Leslie is now a stay at home mom focused on community service. In addition to the Garden Board, she also serves on the Board of the Women’s Coalition on St Croix and enjoys supporting many non profits on the Island and in the Philadelphia area.
CLAIRE CHURCH Claire Church has a BA in English and a Masters in Public Health. She is currently serving her second term on the SGVBG Board of Governors. She also served as President of the Local chapter of the Woman’s Auxiliary of the Loma Linda University Medical School and as President of the Burnt Mills Hills Home Owners Community Association. In the latter role, she initiated a beautification project, planting daffodils in the common areas of the Community. After moving from this area neighbors sent her photos years later of the daffodils still blooming each spring. Claire has a keen interest in the SGVBG and fostering its future development, including the upkeep of the Garden, the ruins, the history, and the botanical specimen collections.
EUGENIA MERKOULOV has an educational background focused on the environment and sustainable agriculture combined with a lifetime of working with medicinal botanicals. She has been an active volunteer since joining the SGVBG Board in early 2020. She currently has two businesses, Earthbeat Herbals and Plant Medicine Yoga, and is completing a Master of Science in herbal medicine. She has a BA in Environmental Studies and a BA in Political Science.
PATRICE GRAY Now in her fifth year on the Board, Dr. Patrice Gray served the first two years as Vice-President and next two years as President. During this time she secured a federal grant that brought in two professional, outside consultants in Living Collections and Historic Preservation; their work has created a foundation for future planning. She also worked with colleagues on the construction of a new Strategic Plan. She now remains an active member of the Board and a firm supporter of the Garden’s committed staff and volunteers.
Dr. Gray received her Ph.D in America Studies from Emory University where she focused her studies on nineteenth-century literature and culture. She is particularly interested in working to preserve the historical structures within the Garden and to foster new archeological research into the lives of the various peoples who have lived on-site.
JOAN KUPFER Joan has been on SGVBG’s Board for about two years. She and her husband moved to the island many, many years ago with Hovensa, raising their twins here. Giving back to the community of St. Croix has always been a part of their lives on the island. Joan has been active on different Boards throughout her years on island. She dedicated many years to the St.Croix Swimming Association and enjoyed volunteer teaching with their learn-to-swim program. The Garden Board seemed to be a good fit for her as she expressed interest in working with children again.
Joan is happiest at the Garden volunteering as a chaperone on school field trips, seeing the Garden through the eyes of the children. She hopes to help develop more educational programs for children while serving on the Board. Joan also brings a depth of knowledge on non-profit fundraising, having attended so many different events on island over the many years. She enjoys helping plan and execute some of the Garden’s social fundraising events and looks forward to focusing on planning more social events and activities to help grow the annual membership. She believes there is so much potential to have a very active large membership base as more and more people in the St. Croix community discover the Garden and realize what a gem it is.
DR. ELIZABETH L. ANDERSON is a new Board member in 2020. She has actively supported the Gardens since first buying a house with her husband, Ed Delaney, on St Croix in 2004 and becoming an Island resident in 2011. Previously she was actively involved with the U S Botanical Gardens and National Arboretum, while living on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. On the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she spends half of the year, she landscapes and maintains the gardens on their 30-acre Chesapeake Bay- LaTrappe Creek Farm and partners with the Talbot County Garden Club for the pilgrimage house tours. Dr Anderson has a long history of service on non-profit Boards, including the Boards of the Ha’Penny Bay Beach Club, Chesapeake Chamber Music, Talbot County Historical Society, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, U VA Engineering Foundation Board, Toxicology Education Foundation, and EPA Foundation.
Dr Anderson holds a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry; she attended the College of William and Mary (B S), the University of Virginia (M S), and American University (PhD). Her interest in gardens and historic preservation fit well with her academic interest in environmental health sciences. In her career as a health scientist, she founded and directed for 14 years the U S EPA health science programs and has been President and CEO of Clement International, Sciences International, Vice President for Health Sciences for Exponent. She remains active in the health sciences, while maintaining a focused interest in the life enriching experiences of flowers, music, and friends. On the Board, she is interested in pursuing opportunities for grants and partnerships at the Federal level to support the mission of the Gardens and preservation of its historical treasures.
JACKIE GOODYEAR Jackie Goodyear has been a Garden board member since 2016. Her family has supported the Garden for years before she became a part of the board, however, she became extra interested in being involved in the Botanical Garden after attending a couple of Garden Christmas galas. She believes the Garden is an important piece of the island and has found extreme interest in different types of native plants, especially because her historic property is home to many species, including some very unique ones.
Jackie and her soon-to-be husband David Johnson didn’t know at the time, but can look back now and laugh at the fact that they technically had their first date at a Garden Christmas Gala! Since then, they’ve had a 4 year old boy, and a 5 year old girl that were born on, and will continue to be raised on St. Croix. Jackie has a Bachelor of Science in Sociology/Criminal Justice, an Associate of Arts in Communication, an Associate of Arts in Social Science, and minors in Spanish, Psychology, and International Studies.
STEVE GRIMES has been a dedicated volunteer at SGVBG since 2009. He has been a tour guide, a volunteer at Garden events large and small, and has used his working knowledge of building construction to help set up the room for The St. Croix Sea Shell Museum at The Garden and redesign interior space in the lower level of the manager’s house. His focus as a Board member is to further SGVBG’s efforts to fully become a “green” organization and find ways to save the garden money now and in the future.
A graduate of North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, Steve retired after 30 years as an Interior Designer, a Professional Member of the American Society of Interior Designers.