ITHACA, NY — February 2022— Ithaca Children’s Garden is excited to announce Candice Meade (she/her) as its new Executive Director. Prior to joining ICG, Candice lived and learned in Ithaca, receiving her B.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell University in 2013, and going on to complete her Master’s in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Johns Hopkins University in 2018.

“I am thrilled to be joining Ithaca Children’s Garden as its new Executive Director,” remarks Candice. “The mission and vision to provide inclusive, child-led nature play and lifelong connections to the outdoors has drawn me to the Garden and aligns with my passion to connect people to nature. Given the passion of the staff, Board vision and support, welcoming culture, and plans for the future, I know that being a part of ICG will bring value, depth, and purpose. I am grateful to join a team with such exciting and dynamic ideas and plans for the Garden.”

Meade has a robust background in environmental science and natural resource management along with accomplishments as an environmental educator, program coordinator, and operations manager in her previous roles with the Institute for Conservation Leadership and the Annapolis Maritime Museum. Among Meade’s skills are strength in growing summer camp programs, cultivating community engagement, building a culture of discovery and play, and developing partnerships with non-profit and private organizations to ensure financial security. ICG has every confidence that Candice will steward the Garden into the future in new, and fruitful ways.

“The Board is excited to bring Ms. Meade back to Ithaca and by her experiences in environmental education, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion work, and by her passion for ICG’s mission to connect children to nature to create a more beautiful, resilient, and just world.” states Sonja Skelly, president of ICG’s Board of Directors.

ICG’s staff and Board of Directors look forward to welcoming Candice to the organization and our community. She will begin her new role at Ithaca Children’s Garden on February 14, 2022, succeeding Erin Marteal.

Marteal served as ICG’s Executive Director from 2011 with an innovative vision, bold and kind leadership, and deep dedication to ICG’s mission. Under her leadership, ICG grew its staff, operating budget, community, and programming exponentially.

Board president Sonja Skelly stated “Erin’s vision brought much loved spaces to the Garden including the Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone, Bulb Labyrinth Memorial Garden, and Kids’ Kitchen. She also imagined and brought to life wonderful events such as the Festival of Fire & Ice, International Mud Day, and the Tough Turtle obstacle race. At the heart of Marteal’s work was her commitment to all children having access to the Garden and to nature. This commitment enabled ICG to help expand outdoor learning at each of the elementary schools within Ithaca City School District during the pandemic, and to develop engaging summer camps, Playful Nature Explorers preschool, and After School @ ICG programming that center inclusion and access. Her leadership has immensely transformed the Garden, and the hearts of those who have worked alongside her.”