Ari Novy. Courtesy San Diego Botanic Garden

The San Diego Botanic Garden has named Ari Novy, the former executive director of the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., as its new president and CEO.

Novy will succeed Julian Duval, who is retiring in January after 24 years at the helm of the 37-acre botanic garden in Encinitas, which was recently named one of the top 10 gardens “worth traveling for” by the American Public Garden Association.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to have a nationally recognized scientist as our new president and CEO. We look forward to Ari taking the gardens to the next level from the great base that Julian has created,” said John DeWald, chairman of the board of trustees.

Novy, a plant biologist with degrees from New York University and Rutgers University, is currently chief scientist at Leichtag Foundation in Encinitas. He was head of the U.S. Botanic Garden from 2014 until 2017 before joining Leichtag.

“I am deeply honored to be chosen as the next President & CEO of San Diego Botanic Garden,” said Novy. “From the first time I set foot in the garden as a visitor many years ago, I have been a tremendous fan. I am excited to continue the exciting trajectory that Julian Duval has established.”

The former Quail Gardens have grown during Duval’s tenure to become a major tourist destination in San Diego County. They are now divided into 29 different microclimate sections, from tropical rainforest to desert, linked by four miles of trails.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.