Board Of Directors
President, Evelyn Giddings (Eureka, CA). Evelyn Giddings was born and raised in Crescent City, California; she holds a BS degree in Business from Humboldt State and an MBA in International Business from San Francisco State. Ms. Giddings is very active in her community and currently serves as the Board President for the Humboldt Botanical Gardens Foundation and is also a member of Humboldt County’s Work Investment Board. She lives in rural Humboldt County with her husband, David Lemm. Together they have three grown children and nine grandchildren. She recently retired as a Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Manager, with Umpqua Bank for the Humboldt-Del-Norte Region and prior to that was with Six Rivers Bank/North Valley Bank for six years. Prior to banking she was in Sales, Marketing and Management. Ms. Giddings joined the HBG Board of Directors in 2003.
Vice President, James T. Sessa (McKinleyville, CA). For over thirty years, Mr. Sessa has assisted in the management of Coast Central Credit Union, from yesterday’s $37 million in assets to today’s $1 billion plus in managed assets. As the Senior Vice President of Administration and Chief Financial Officer, he oversees all functions of the credit union, including investments, which serves nearly 60,000 members and businesses on the North Coast. He holds a BS in Management from Humboldt State University and is a graduate of the Western CUNA Management School at Pomona College in Claremont. He is a charter member and active committee member of the Credit Union National Association of Chief Financial Officers, a professional community of 1,300+ finance and accounting leaders from across the country. He is past President of Mad River Rotary and is active in a number of community organizations with an emphasis in community enrichment and youth related projects. He is married to Julie Sessa and together they have two grown children. Mr. Sessa serves on the HBG Finance Committee and joined HBG Board of Directors in 2001.
Treasurer, Cathy Randall (Garberville, CA) Cathy Randall Studebaker, owner of Randall Sand & Gravel since 1991. Cathy remembers when the HBG first started. She thought it was a wonderful idea and even then she wanted to be a part of it. She was born & raised in Humboldt county and over the years she has belonged to many organizations, both professional and philanthropic. She supports local community parks and the local schools. The business was her parents retirement, her daughter’s college education, her son’s future and now her retirement. She has visited many beautiful gardens in her travels and loves to garden. She thinks the garden is an important part of our Humboldt community and she would love to be part of making this legacy happen. She joined the HBG Board of Directors in 2016.
Secretary, Micki Davis (Eureka, CA) Micki was born in Arcata. At age 10 she moved with her family to the northern Sierra Nevada region. She returned to Eureka in 1982, attended college, and began her career with City of Eureka and then Eureka City Schools. She retired in 2016 after 30 years of administrative work and raising two sons. Knowing of her love of gardening and past experience growing heathers, her husband Mark Moore, curator for the Native Plant Garden, suggested she consider volunteering at HBG in the Betty Kuhnel Heather Garden. Micki is currently co-curator of the heather garden and is a member of the Garden Committee. In January 2019 she joined the HBGF Board of Directors and is looking forward to helping the Garden continue to grow as a major attraction in Humboldt County.
Board of Directors
Nancy Cavanaugh (Eureka, CA) A native Californian, born in Santa Monica and raised in Southern California and Honolulu, Hawaii. She has a BSN /MSN from the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Nancy, a widow and now retired, resides in Eureka, California, as do her son and daughter and their families. She has been active with Miranda's Rescue for the past twelve years, previously serving on their board of directors as Vice-President. A life long love of plants and animals, she has recently joined the HBGF Board of Directors.
Frank Bickner (Eureka, CA) joined the HBGF Board in Feb., 2020. He has been a resident of Humboldt County for 45 years. He graduated both from College of the Redwoods and Humboldt State with a BS in Geology and a MS in Watershed Sciences. He recently retired as senior owner and Chairman of the Board after 32 years from LACO Associates Consulting Engineers. Frank managed the initial geologic investigation for the HBG site for College of the Redwoods and is very familiar with the site conditions at the HBG. Most importantly he is an active gardener and a swell guy. Join us in welcoming Frank to the HBGF board of directors.
Barbara Groom (Loleta, CA). A thirty-five year resident of Loleta/Table Bluff, Ms. Groom started the Lost Coast Brewery in 1989 following a career in pharmacy. Under her guidance Lost Coast Brewery moved from being a small brew pub to becoming a national and international award winning brewery. A member of many community organizations and boards of directors, she brings a keen awareness of the community, business sense and her love of botanical gardens to the HBG Board. Ms. Groom serves on the HBG Fundraising Steering Committee and joined the HBG Board of Directors in 2005.
Larry Eitzen (Eureka, CA) Larry was born in Cleveland to Oliver and Rosemary Eitzen. Oliver had grown up on a farm in Kansas and was an ardent gardener. On one acre he planted over 90 trees many of which are still growing in a western suburb of Cleveland. On vacation he loved to visit arboretums bringing with him Rosemary and the kids. His passion was passed on. When Larry is not in the office he can be found with his wife, Kitch, working on their one acre parcel. She cares for the landscaping and he maintain the weeds and vegetables. Larry says, “The Botanical Garden is a wonderful place to take a break from the otherwise hectic pace, a place to enjoy the beauty of nature and the passage of the season and years. Volunteers and staff do an amazing job."
Misha Schwarz (Bayside, CA). Mr. Schwarz has been a Humboldt resident since 1979 and holds a BS degree in Natural Resources Planning from Humboldt State University. Misha has served on various boards including the Adult Humboldt Soccer League and Vector Rehabilitation and has also been active in Rotary. Mr. Schwarz is a Senior Scientist/Project Manager with GHD, an international environmental/engineering consulting company. Misha recently joined the HBG’s Board in August of 2016.
Danelle Tegarden (Eureka, CA) She and her husband Cary have three adult daughters and two grand-sons. Danelle is a Business Administration graduate of Humboldt State University with an accounting emphasis. Currently she works in the accounting department as a financial analyst at Coast Central Credit Union. She considers herself a local, having lived in Humboldt County for most of her life. Danelle is a member of Soroptimist International of Eureka and serves as president. Soroptimist is a global volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. While Danelle is not a gardener, she truly enjoys and appreciates the beauty and peace one is able to find at the "Garden". Danelle’s greatest joy is spending time with her family and friends.
Doreen Kaplan was born and raised in New York City and moved to Houston, Texas in 1984. Houston was a wonderful city to raise both her daughter and an off-premise catering company which she started with her ex-husband. Acute Events & Catering grew to one of the top 3 event productions in the city with a list of very high profile clients and non-profits organizations. In 2007 she and her current husband and their 4 horses, dog and cat moved to the mountains of Colorado, she ran her company from Colorado until 2010 when she sold it. In 2015 she moved once again to Oregon and took a position as the Catering Director for Intel. Benbow Historic Inn was her next stop where until COVID was the Director of Catering and Special Events for the Inn. Events have always been a passion for Ms. Kaplan and she is very much looking forward to assisting HBG in building revenue through a venue rental program as well as assisting in fund raising endeavors for the Garden.