The Botanics Foundation

What we do

The Botanics Foundation is an independent charity that seeks to advance through charitable giving the mission of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh: to explore, conserve and explain the world of plants for a better future.

Through charitable giving, the Foundation enhances the Garden’s world-leading science, action in conservation, education for everyone, community impact, and access to art, culture and collections.

About our Trustees

Lorna Stoddart, MInstF (Dip) – Interim Chair

With over 25 years of fundraising experience, working ‘from the bottom up’ as a volunteer, community fundraiser, fundraising manager, director, and Trustee of three charities, Lorna has learnt a considerable amount about relationships – what charities expect from donors and what they can expect in return, as well as the importance of compliance and team work. 

Her two most recent roles have been as Director of Development and Membership at The National Trust for Scotland - from 2000 until 2008 - and she is currently Director of Development and Director of Winchester College Society at Winchester College. 

Her experience includes leading multi-million pound capital campaigns and endowment campaigns, direct marketing and digital appeals, and international fundraising. 

Simon Milne MBE – Regius Keeper

Simon Milne was appointed the 16th Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) in February 2014.

Prior to this he was Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust (2004 -2014) and Director of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Arboretum (2000 – 2004). He served with the Royal Marines (1979-2000) predominantly with Commando Forces, and was appointed MBE in 1996.

He is a Trustee of The Crawick Multiverse Trust, the Younger Benmore Trust, the M L Macintyre Begonia Trust, the Sibbald Trust and is a Director of the Botanics Trading Company. He was awarded an Honorary Professorship by the University of Edinburgh in 2016 and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He is a member of Her Majesty’s Body Guard of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms.

James Ferguson

James Ferguson is Chairman of Value and Income Trust plc, the Monks Investment Trust plc, The Scottish Oriental Smaller Companies plc, Northern 3 VCT plc and Edinburgh US Tracker Trust plc. 

He joined Stewart Ivory in 1970, becoming chairman and chief executive in 1989 and retiring in 2000. He is a former deputy chairman of the Association of Investment Companies. He is also a Director of the Independent Investment Trust plc, and Audax Properties plc.

Tricia Henton MBE, FRSE

Tricia Henton is a former chief executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and a retired Director of the Environment Agency.  By background she is a geologist /geographer with over 40 years experience in environmental management and sustainable development.

She also has extensive experience in corporate governance in the public, professional and charity sectors and is currently a Trustee of the Institute of European Environmental Policy.

Diana Murray CBE

Diana Murray has worked in the cultural and historic environment sector for over 40 years and was the Chief Executive of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and also joint CEO of Historic Scotland (HS) until October 2015.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a Fellow of the Scottish Royal Geographical Society.  Diana is a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Professor Mary Gibby OBE, FRSE, PhD

Following a research career in botany at the Natural History Museum in London, Mary Gibby served as Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) from 2000 to 2012, and now holds the position of Honorary Research Associate.

As Director of Science, she had responsibility for all aspects of science, for conservation and development of the herbarium collections, library and archives, for publications, art and scientific exhibitions, and events and interpretation.

She has been engaged with the conservation agenda in Scotland, the UK and internationally through her research at NHM and RBGE and has held membership of the scientific advisory board of Scottish Natural Heritage, RSPB’s Committee for Scotland, Defra’s Darwin Initiative Committee of Experts, the advisory board of Chelsea Physic Garden, London and a partnership organisation of the Canal and River Trust.

Liz McAreavey

Liz was appointed CEO of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce in 2016 following 6 years in various roles at the Chamber. Liz sits on a range of civic boards in the city including The Edinburgh City Vision Steering Group, the Edinburgh Business Forum, The Festivals Forum, The Edinburgh Development Forum, The Strategic Implementation Group and the Economic Advisory Panel.

Liz is also a member of the Business Creation and Growth Mission of the Enterprise and Skills Strategy Board and a member of the Land Use Taskforce. She became a Governor of Fettes College in 2019 and most recently was appointed to the International Advisory Board at the University of Edinburgh Business School.

Bruce Minto OBE FRSE

Bruce is a practising solicitor and in 1985 co-founded Dickson Minto W S, a law firm specialising solely in corporate law.

Bruce chaired, for seven years, the Stewart Ivory Foundation, a charity dedicated to the provision and enhancement of financial education in Scotland.  He was Chairman of the Campaign Board which raised the costs of refurbishing the Royal Museum, Edinburgh and created 29 new galleries there.  He was also part of the group of individuals who raised a statue to William Playfair in front of the National Museum of Scotland.  He completed two terms of office as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Museums of Scotland and a Trustee of its Charitable Trust Board.  Currently he is the Convenor of the Investigation Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland.

Bruce is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, a Regent of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

He was awarded an OBE in 2015 for services to culture in Scotland.

  • To contact the Botanics Foundation

    Please email

    Or call us on 0131 248 2984

Charity number: SC027758

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