Ostherr Contributed

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ Board of Directors has announced that, as of July 6, Gretchen Ostherr will become the Gardens’ next president and CEO.

“Gretchen brings a strong record of vision and commitment to mission,” said Judy Parkhill, head of the search committee, in a news release, “a passion for the outdoor environment, demonstrated leadership, and superb communication skills. It was a unanimous decision.”

Ostherr succeeds the gardens’ vice chairperson of Administration & Operations and Volunteer CEO, Mary Neal, who took on the role after former president and CEO William Cullina stepped down to take the position of executive director of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.

“I am so excited to welcome Gretchen as the next President and CEO of CMBG,” saidNeal. “Her commitment to our mission is part of who she has been for years. As the Volunteer CEO and member of the search committee, I’m confident Gretchen’s visionary leadership will create a remarkable next chapter for the Gardens and the Boothbay Region.”

Ostherr has been serving as director of the Outdoor Discovery Programs at L.L. Bean.

“I can’t say enough about the importance and relevance of connecting people to plants and nature, especially at this time in our history,” Ostherr said. “CMBG’s mission is closely aligned with my own goals of having a positive impact on people and the planet through transformative outdoor experiences.”

An avid gardener, she loves plants and designing gardens. “I am rejuvenated from digging in the dirt,” she said, “picking flowers, weeding, planting, and walking in my garden. Gardening is how I relax—to merge what I love with my work is a dream come true.”

The Gardens began its search for a CEO in August 2019. “After consulting with staff, volunteers, donors and community members, we conducted a lengthy and exhaustive search, committed to finding the right person to achieve our mission and goals, to meet our challenges, and to be the right fit with our staff, our Board, and constituents,” Parkhill said. “I am very pleased to say that, in Gretchen, we have found her.”

At nearly 325 acres, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is the largest public Garden in New England. Voted #1 on TripAdvisor, the nationally recognized public garden is located in Boothbay, Maine. The mission of the Gardens is to inspire meaningful connections among people, plants, and nature through horticulture, education, and research.

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