Ari Novy is on a mission to connect people with plants and each other. He is currently President and CEO of San Diego Botanic Garden, having first started his public garden career as an estate gardener at Villa La Pietra in Florence, Italy and then as a golf course groundskeeper in New Jersey. After completely falling in love with horticulture, Ari went back to school to study plant biology, culminating in a PhD from Rutgers University. While at Rutgers he conducted horticultural and ecological research while teaching courses in woody plant identification and invasion ecology. Ari’s first garden management position was as Public Programs Manager at the US Botanic Garden in Washington, DC, later serving there as Deputy Executive Director and Executive Director. He served as founding co-chair of the APGA Food and Agriculture Community and serves on several boards including BGCI-US and the Cornell Alliance for Science. He has remained an active researcher, currently holding an appointment as Adjunct Associate Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Ari loves communicating about the wonders of the plant world and is immensely proud of having been a science advisor for the most recent seasons of The Magic School Bus.