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Alaska Botanical Garden Hires McGuinness as Executive Director

8 May 2007

Following a lengthy search the Board of Directors of the Alaska Botanical Garden have appointed Julianne McGuinness as the third Executive Director in the institution's twenty one- year history. "We were seeking someone who could lead our grassroots organization to the next level, building upon the decades of hard work by a diverse and dedicated group of members and volunteers” says Elise Huggins, ABG Board President. “Julianne brings extensive non-profit management, financial, and technology skills.”

A long-time Alaskan, Master Gardener, and former Public Radio General Manager (she also wrote, produced and hosted the “Gaia’s Garden” segment of KTNA-FM’s “Earth and Beyond” radio series), McGuinness has broad, hands-on expertise with both non-profit operations and the challenges of nurturing gardens in Alaska.  (Her experiences also include shooing moose, bears, and wolverines out of public spaces.)

"I am thrilled for the opportunity to serve the Alaska Botanical Garden and to apply my management and technical skills towards the mission of enhancing the beauty and value of plant material through education, preservation, recreation, and research.” says McGuinness.  I intend to cultivate ABG’s presence and role in the community through outreach, promotion, network-building, and expanding an already-strong base of support. I also recognize that this is a critical time for Botanical Gardens around the world to address the issues of climate change as well as the need to step up efforts for conservation and protection of plant diversity.”

McGuinness joined the ABG staff March 5th, relocating to Anchorage from Sitka, AK, where she worked in the Engineering department of the CoastAlaska public radio consortium.  Prior to living in Southeast Alaska, she resided in Talkeetna, Alaska where she was General Manager of community radio station KTNA-FM for over 10 years.  She has a B.S. in Psychology from Seton Hall University, and completed coursework towards her Ph.D. (“ABD”) in Clinical Psychology at the University of Wyoming.  She became an avid organic gardener and composter at age 10 while growing up in New Jersey, and has been growing herbs, vegetables, native perennials, and indoor tropical plants ever since.

The Alaska Botanical Garden was incorporated in 1986, opening the first display gardens to the public in 1994.  A 501 (c) 3 membership-based organization, ABG is rather unique in that it was founded “from scratch” upon the grass-roots based efforts of a handful of determined Alaskan gardeners with a passion for plant conservation, education, and enjoyment.  
Located on 110 spruce-and-birch forested acres  the Alaska Botanical Garden has over 1,100 species of hardy perennials and 150 native plant species, the Garden is an excellent public venue to experience the abundance of the summer sub-arctic growing season and to learn about Alaskan native flora.

More information is available about these events and initiatives via the Garden's website at

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