The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University recently announced that Jessica Pederson will be its new Head of Public Programs.
Pederson will lead a team of dedicated staff and volunteers to engage millions of Arboretum visitors both online and in person through creative events, programs, and public initiatives.
As Head of Public Programs, Pederson will coordinate programming activities with partners in the city of Boston, Harvard University, and other civic and neighborhood organizations to advance the Arboretum’s commitment to equity and inclusion and promote its role as a community resource for education. Pederson marshals nearly two decades of experience in leadership at similar organizations including the Native Plant Trust, the Esplanade Association, and most recently the New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill. She also previously worked at the Arnold Arboretum as a Hunnewell Summer Intern at the Dana Greenhouses and as Visitor Education Assistant.
“I am thrilled to return to the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, where my love for public horticulture and environmental education first took root,” said Pederson. “I look forward to working with our staff and community partners to make the Arboretum an even more welcoming, accessible, and inclusive place for everyone to explore, learn about the plant world, and experience the restorative power of nature.”
She received a master’s degree in professional studies in public garden leadership at Cornell University and studied natural resource conservation and plant and soil science at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a passion for environmental education and conservation, effectively spearheading a multitude of projects in these areas. Dedicated to fostering community engagement in green spaces, she has successfully led teams to promote public horticulture through innovative educational initiatives.
In her most recent role as director of education at New England Botanic Garden, Pederson served on the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Committee; developed the organization’s first education plan; and created new programs and exhibits that received record-breaking attendance. As director of public programs at Native Plant Trust, she led the Pollinate New England initiative, a hybrid program to involve the community in conservation education.
“Jessica is deeply committed to environmental equity work and making the natural world accessible to everyone,” said William (Ned) Friedman, director of the Arnold Arboretum. “With 19 years of experience in the field, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Arnold Arboretum and our diverse community. We are so fortunate to have her lead our public programs and the remarkable work of our visitor engagement staff.”
This article was republished with permission from the Arnold Arboretum website.