Current Board of Directors
Board Co-Chair: Amie Butler
Amie was raised on a ranch in Northwest Colorado. Animals became her first love, and she followed her dream of becoming a veterinarian, graduating from Veterinary School at Colorado State University in 1977. As she puts it, “she did large animal veterinary stuff for 20 plus years, before accepting a job with U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service/Veterinary Services, her current employer. Somewhere along the way, gardening became her second love. As a hobbyist and experimentalist, she has gardened in Colorado (both sides of the divide), Eastern Washington, East Tennessee, and now Montana. In 2011- 2012, she completed the Master Gardener classes offered through Montana State University Extension. She is also a member of Growing Friends of Helena. She fully supports the mission and goals of Helena Community Gardens, and sees continued participation in all community gardening projects as a possible second career.
Board Co-Chair: Patricia Christian
Pat moved to Helena from Buffalo New York when her husband joined the Carroll College history faculty, where she teaches sociology courses as an adjunct faculty member. Knowing the best way to learn a new community is to get involved, she has volunteered with Helena Food Share, been elected to the Helena Citizens Council, and joined the HCG board. While she only grows flowers in her yard due to summer travel, she appreciates fresh produce and the benefits of gardening on individuals and community.
Helen M. Beausoleil, LCSW
Helen is a retired Social Worker who has lived in Helena for 48 years. A
native of Butte she has an undergraduate degree in Biology and Masters Degree in Social Work. For twenty years Helen was a Youth Minister and director of education for her parish community. As a social worker
she was a pregnancy counselor; worked with adoptive families and bereavement groups. She currently facilitates grief groups and is involved with parish social justice projects. She and her husband Joe were asked to coordinate the building of a community garden for their parish, Saint Mary Catholic Community’s Jubilee Garden. Through this project she was introduced to Helena Community Gardens and is honored to be part of the board. She loves to garden. Her fondest memory as a child was gardening with her dad and enjoying fresh lettuce and mayo sandwiches. She and Joe have grown daughter and four grandchildren living in Helena. She loves the fact that her grandchildren are living in a community that provides opportunity for
growing fresh produce and sharing it with others.
Clif Caughron, Treasurer
My first career after college was with the IRS in San Francisco and Denver. I received my law degree in Denver, and worked for the Departments of Revenue in Colorado and Montana and in private practice until I retired in 2009. Since then, I have worked part time for the Census Bureau and as a tax professional for H&R Block. I served on the Finance Counsel for St Mary Catholic Community for many years, and was the Treasurer for the Last Chance Chapter of the Montana Backcountry Horsemen for 3 years. I served on the garden committee and was the initial Garden Manager for the new Jubilee Garden at St Mary’s in it’s first year, and Co-Manager the past two years. The other Co-Manager, Dan, is a Master Gardener and much more qualified to manage Jubilee Garden than I, so when I heard that HCG was looking for a Treasurer, I thought my skills might be better used there, and here I am! I’m looking forward to my new role with the Helena Community Gardens’ Board of Directors.
Les Clark- Head Garden Manager
Les has worked with non-profit organizations for nearly forty years, including Growing Friends of Helena, Montana Independent Living Project, RMDC, and the Center for Mental Health. He is a founding board member of Helena Community Gardens. He is particularly drawn to the vision of having a community garden within walking distance of every neighborhood in Helena so that people can learn to grow their own healthy food. He also enjoys connecting children with gardens.
Fascinated by the miracle of life he sees in plants, Les has been a Master Gardener for six years and gardened for more than fifty. He is currently the Head Gardener at St Paul’s Methodist Church where he helped create the landscaping. He especially loves trees and the many gifts they provide us.
Les has worked with people with severe disabilities for over 35 years. He has volunteered with Family Promise of Helena for five years. In his free time, Les loves to swim, hike in the mountains, and ride his bicycle. His greatest passion is nurturing trees and gardening.
Jake’s first year as a board member was 2019. Jake was born and raised in Helena but has lived away in Washington or Colorado for many years. He’s excited to be back in Helena to raise his family and work with the Department of Environmental Quality. Jake enjoys gardening with his family at the Covenant garden and is excited to help HCG with infrastructure and planning needs.first year as a board member was 2019. Jake was born and raised in Helena but has lived away in Washington or Colorado for many years. He’s excited to be back in Helena to raise his family and work with the Department of Environmental Quality. Jake enjoys gardening with his family at the Covenant garden and is excited to help HCG with infrastructure and planning needs.den and is excited to help HCG with infrastructure and planning needs.
Kara was drawn to food advocacy after completing an AmeriCorps project at a food bank farm where
she quickly realized small-scale farming and gardening can fill the gap in our current food system that overlooks people living in poverty. She found her way to Montana and joined Helena Food Share as the Program Manager. The part of her job she enjoys the most is managing the garden and believes that healthy, nutritious food is a basic human right. She has been a Community Garden board member since 2017.