The San Francisco Recreation & Park Department is proud to announce the appointment of Matthew Stephens as the new Director of both the Conservatory of Flowers and San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park. Stephens has spent the last decade working for the New York City Parks & Recreation Department, most recently leading the successful MillionTreesNYC campaign as the director of street tree planting. He has led large teams and worked with elected officials, agencies from all levels of government, nonprofit groups, community associations, and various tree programs. Stephens received the Isaac Lieberman Award in December 2013 for outstanding public service among New York City’s 325,000 municipal employees.

“Matthew’s background and experience are truly impressive. We are thrilled that he is the City’s new Director, and I am excited and honored to partner with him in leading the Garden forward,” said Sue Ann Schiff, Executive Director of San Francisco Botanical Garden Society.

While receiving his M.S. in Public Horticulture, Stephens wrote his Master’s thesis, The Nature of Conflict in Public Gardens, a study which investigated the sources of organizational conflict between front line staff and management in organizations. In collaboration with nonprofit partners, Stephens looks forward to further elevating both San Francisco Botanical Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers into international destinations and leaders in plant conservation by connecting plants, people and resources.

“After a national search, we’re thrilled to have Matthew on board,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec & Park General Manager. “His experience in forestry and horticulture as well as organizational management makes him a perfect fit to lead and the Conservatory of Flowers and San Francisco Botanical Garden.”

About San Francisco Botanical Garden
San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum is a living museum within Golden Gate Park, offering 55 acres of beautiful gardens displaying over 8,000 different kinds of plants from around the world. Seasonal highlights include the magnificent Magnolia collection, the most significant for conservation purposes outside China; the unique Mesoamerican, Andean and Southeast Asian Cloud Forest collections; and the California Native Garden and century old Redwood Grove.

Established in 1940 originally as Strybing Arboretum, San Francisco Botanical Garden is a collaboration of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the non-profit San Francisco Botanical Garden Society. For more information, visit:

About the Conservatory of Flowers
The mission of the Conservatory of Flowers is to connect people and plants in a place of exceptional beauty. The Conservatory of Flowers has captivated guests for more than a century. This gem of Victorian architecture has a long and rich history, and is the oldest public wood-and-glass conservatory in North America. As a city, state and national historic landmark, the Conservatory remains one of the most photographed and beloved attractions in San Francisco. For more information, visit: