Washington – The United States Botanic Garden is pleased to announce Lisa Philander, Ph.D., has joined the Garden as Deputy Executive Director. Lisa brings over 20 years of experience in public gardens with a particular focus on the culture, science, and leadership of botanic gardens and conservatories, previously serving as Director of Horticulture at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. Prior to that, she was the Director of the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences Conservatory & Botanical Collection where she stewarded the legislative funding, design, and development of a new academic greenhouse.  

Dr. Philander has experience leveraging partnerships and designing and implementing exhibitions and comprehensive public programs to spark botanical interests in multigenerational audiences. Additionally, her research and work have focused on ethnobotany and topics to cultivate the connection between plants and people and the role that gardens play in healing. 

Lisa has a strong history of international community-based development work with diverse audiences to create enthusiasm and commitment regarding resource sharing and conservation. She has worked with Seeds for Africa, TreePeople, Trees for a Green LA, Food Dignity on the Wind River Range Wyoming, and Cape Bush Doctors in South Africa. Her recent work has been with Somali and Hmong communities in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. 

Dr. Philander received a Ph.D. in Emergent Ethnomedicine: Bush Doctors in Cape Town from the University of Arizona; a M.Sc. in Ethnobotany Distribution and Transmission of Medicinal Knowledge from Garden-Based Education from the University of Kent and Kew Garden; a M.S. in Agriculture Botanical Garden Outreach to Elementary Schools from Cal Poly Pomona; and a B.S. in Environmental Horticulture from the University of Minnesota.

“I’m delighted to join the U.S. Botanic Garden, with its long history of showcasing the beauty and usefulness of plants,” said Philander. “I look forward to being part of the great team that shares our passion for horticulture and botanical science in the heart of our nation’s capital.”

“With a strong background in both public gardens and ethnobotany, Lisa is a wonderful addition to the U.S. Botanic Garden to further our work connecting people and plants,” said Dr. Susan K. Pell, USBG Executive Director. “We are thrilled for her to use her experience and expertise to help us inspire people to appreciate, study, and conserve plants.”


Photo of Lisa Philander 
Media contact: Devin Dotson, devin.dotson@aoc.gov, 202-306-6743 

About United States Botanic Garden 
The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) is the oldest continuously operating public garden in the United States, established by Congress in 1820. The U.S. Botanic Garden inspires people to appreciate, study, and conserve plants to enrich society locally and globally. With over a million visitors annually, the USBG strives to demonstrate and promote sustainable practices. It is a living plant museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. www.USBG.gov