Dr. Ari Novy is President and CEO of the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas, CA, a 37-acre facility with extensive collections of Mediterranean climate plants as well as award winning children’s gardens.
Dr. Novy is a plant biologist with a wide range of expertise in plant science and education. He started his career in student support services with New York University. He then worked as an estate gardener in Italy, researched sustainable agriculture in the Philippines, and served as an environmental consultant on infrastructure projects in the northeastern United States.
Dr. Novy completed his graduate work at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where he conducted research on plant population genetics, invasive species, plant conservation, horticultural improvement, agronomic risk assessment, beekeeping management, plant evolution and agricultural economics and policy. While at Rutgers, Dr. Novy taught undergraduate and graduate courses on a variety of plant science and horticultural topics, winning several awards for research, teaching and outreach excellence.
Before joining San Diego Botanic Garden, Dr. Novy was Chief Scientist at the Leichtag Foundation, also in Encinitas, CA and before that Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. As Executive Director of the U.S. Botanic Garden, Dr. Novy also sat on the Executive Leadership Team of the U.S. Architect of the Capitol, the federal agency responsible for the management and upkeep of the U.S. Capitol Campus, including the U.S. Botanic Garden, U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress and Supreme Court.
Dr. Novy remains an active researcher, holding an appointment as Research Collaborator at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History and Visiting Scholar at University of California-San Diego. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers and regularly speaks on various horticultural and botanical topics nationally and internationally. He is the founding co-chair of the Food and Agriculture Professional Section of the American Public Gardens Association. He has served on task forces and advisory panels for diverse groups including the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Cornell Alliance for Science, Botanic Garden Conservation International, Rock Creek National Park, the Garden Club of America, the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization, and many others. He has a deep passion for translating science into best management practices and public education. He is immensely proud of having been a science advisor for the most recent seasons of The Magic School Bus.
Dr. Novy completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at New York University and his doctorate at Rutgers University. He was born in Michigan but grew up in New Jersey. He currently lives in Encinitas, California with his wife and two sons.