News & Opinion

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Announces New Executive Director, John Searby

Searby will work this role in tandem with his position as executive director of Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden announced in a release Wednesday that John Searby will take on the role of executive director of the organization. Searby will continue to serve in his current role as executive director of Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, which he’s held since 2019. He said both organizations share a “deep-rooted passion for the world around us — from clean water to North Carolina’s beauty to fun and education,” in the release.

Headshot of John Searby in front of water.
John Searby (Courtesy of Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden)

The release states that the shared leadership model will help both organizations in accomplishing their goals by merging missions and work. 

“I kayak these rivers. I camp these woods. I surround myself regularly with towering trees, vibrant blooms and the pathways that connect it all together,” Searby said in the release. “I look forward to bringing Catawba Riverkeeper and the Garden together in their visions and their day-to-day work to truly propel the importance of nature and preserve it for  generations to come.”

The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, founded in 1997, preserves, protects, and restores the waters of the Catawba-Wateree River basin for all through education, advocacy, and engagement,” according to their mission statement.

For nearly eight years, the CRF led the charge in state and federal court to fight Duke Energy and ensure coal ash cleanup.

Learn More: Nerve’s Keeping The River podcast series hosted by Dr. Keith Cradle

D. Harding Stowe, chairman of Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden’s Board of Directors said in the release, “Catawba Riverkeeper has grown in its presence and awareness in recent years under the guidance of John. We know that he’ll bring this experience and long-held dedication to nature to our Garden, and that this shared leadership model will prove valuable beyond measure for both of our organizations.”

The announcement comes on the heels of news that former interim executive director Art Gallagher had been arrested in Gaston County in February for felony possession of methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released on bond shortly after being booked.

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