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President and CEO, San Diego Botanic Garden


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.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

  1. Novy, A. and T. Moreau. 2019. Crop Science Special Issue: Connecting Agriculture, Public Gardens and Science. Crop Science 59:2300–2301.
  2. Khoury, C.K. Y. Kisel,…and A. Novy. 2019. Science-graphic art partnerships to increase research impact. Communications Biology 2:295.
  3. Krishnan, S., T. Moreau, J. Kuehny, A. Novy, S.L. Greene, and C.K. Khoury. 2019. Resetting the table for people and plants: Botanic gardens and research organizations collaborate to address food and agricultural plant blindness. Plants People Planet 1:157–163.
  4. Kramer, A.T., B. Crane,...A. Novyet. al. 2019. Sourcing native plants to support ecosystem function in different planting contexts. Restoration Ecology 23:470-476.
  5. Tomaszewski, M., M. Dein, A. Novyet al. 2019. Quantitation and seasonal Variation of Key Odorants in Propolis. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 67:1495-1503.
  6. Moreau, T., and A. Novy. 2018. “Public Education and Outreach Opportunities for Crop Wild Relatives in North America”. In: Greene SL, Williams KA, Khoury CK, Kantar MB, and Marek LF, eds., North American Crop Wild Relatives: Conservation and use. Springer.
  7. Molina, J., W. McLaughlin, K. Wallick…and A. Novy. 2017. Ex situ propagation of Philippine Rafflesia in the United States: Challenges and Prospects. Sibbaldia 15:77-96.
  8. Novy, A., H. Shimizu and P. Raven. 2017. The earth is a garden and we’re all its gardeners. (W.J. Kress and J.K. Stine, Eds.) in Living in the Anthropocene: Humanity in the Age of Humans, pp. 95-98. Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, Washington.
  9. Krishnan, S. and A. Novy. 2016. The Role of Botanic Gardens in the Twenty-First Century. CAB Reviews 11(23).
  10. Novy, A. 2016. Botanic Garden Profile: The United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. Sibbaldia 14:15-35.
  11. Lea-Cox, J.D., J.P. Zazanis, C. Miller, A. Novy and M. Shore. 2016. Monitoring Stormwater Runoff and Green Roof Performance with Sensor Networks. Proceedings of Cities Alive: 14th Annual Green Roof and Wall Conference, Washington D.C., November 1-4, 2016.
  12. Culley, T., C. Heubner and A. Novy. 2016. Regional and Local Genetic Variation in Japanese Stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum). Invasive Plant Science and Management 9: 96-111.
  13. Miller, A., A. Novy, et al. 2015. Expanding the role of botanical gardens in the future of food. Nature Plants 1: 15078.
  14. Mims, R., A. Novy, and J. Willmott. 2014. Limiting pest problems through sustainable landscape and garden design and maintenance at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Outlooks on Pest Management 25: 320-324.
  15. Novy, A. and L. Nagarajan. 2014. Producer Choice. (K. Ludlow, S. Smyth and J. Falk-Zepeda, Eds.) in Socio-Economic Considerations in Biotechnology Regulation, pp. 229-246. Springer, New York.
  16. Capik, J.M., M. Muehlbauer, A. Novy, J.A. Honig, and T.J. Molnar. 2013. Eastern filbert blight-resistant hazelnuts from Russia, Ukraine, and Poland. HortScience 48: 466-473.
  17. Novy, A., S.L. Flory and J.M. Hartman. 2013. Rapid evolution of phenology in an invasive grass. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26: 443–450.
  18. Løjtnant, C.L., B. Boelt, S.K. Clausen, C. Damgaard, P. Kryger, A. Novy, M. Philipp, C.H. Ingvordsen, R.B. Jørgensen. 2012. Modelling gene flow between fields of white clover with honeybees as pollen vectors. Environmental Modeling and Assessment 17: 421-430. 
  19. Novy, A., T. Schuler, I. Bartomeus, J. Katz, and M. Robson. 2012. Honey bee colony winter losses and treatments against Varroa destructor in New Jersey, USA, 2010-11. Science of Bee Culture 4: 6-8.
  20. Novy, A., S.L. Flory, J.A. Honig, S. Bonos, and J.M. Hartman. 2012. Characterization of polymorphic microsatellites for the invasive grass Microstegium vimineum (Poaceae). American Journal of Botany 99: e56-e58.
  21. Novy, A., S. Ledermann, C. Pray, and L. Nagarajan. 2011. Balancing agricultural development resources: Are GM and organic agriculture in opposition in Africa? AgBioForum 14: 142-157.
  22. Novy, A. and K.C. Jones. 2011. Characterization of polymorphic microsatellite loci for Tripterygium (Celastraceae), a monospecific genus of medicinal importance. American Journal of Botany 98: e280-e281.
  23. Novy, A., S. Eisenman and J. Grabosky. 2011. A Passion for Forestry and Metasequoia: A Tribute to John E. Kuser. Japanese Journal of Historic Botany 19:69-74.
  24. Novy, A. International GM Grain Standards in an Era of Disagreement. 2010. Rutgers Journal of Bioethics 1(2): 7-12.
  25. Novy, A., P.E. Smouse, J.M. Hartman, L. Struwe, J. Honig, C. Miller and S. Bonos. 2010. Population genetics of Spartina alterniflora(smooth cordgrass) in the New York metropolitan area and implications for marsh restoration. Wetlands 30: 603–608.