Tyler Arboretum welcomes new director

In a unanimous vote this week, the Tyler Arboretum Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Elizabeth S. “Cricket” Brien of Swarthmore as executive director. She will begin her tenure on May 11, a Tyler press release said.

"Cricket" Brien
Elizabeth S."Cricket" Brien will begin her new post as the Tyler Arboretum's executive director on May 11.

With aid from Kittleman and Associates, an executive search firm that specializes in nonprofits, the Tyler board was successful in finding the best candidate to fill the position that opened after the passing of former Executive Director Rick Colbert.

Brien will continue Tyler’s mission to preserve, develop, and share its diverse horticultural, historic, and natural site resources in order to stimulate stewardship and an understanding of the living world.

“We are completely without reservation in this decision,” said Board of Trustees President and Interim Executive Director Shipley Allinson. “Kittleman sent only highly qualified candidates with impressive resumes and interviews, and we are absolutely confident that Cricket is the best of the best for Tyler. We are very excited to see her come on board!”

Brien, a landscape architect by trade and a member of Tyler Arboretum, has worked with arboreta, botanic gardens, sculpture gardens and other nonprofits as planner and designer throughout her career. As chair of the Barnes Foundation Arboretum Advisory Committee, Brien led the strategic planning process to transform the Barnes Arboretum into a destination public garden. She understands the unique challenges of a private arboretum like Tyler, and she has experience in meeting those challenges with vision and enthusiasm.

Brien is committed to the Tyler vision to create a unique horticultural and environmental destination that reconnects individuals with nature and provides knowledge and inspiration to help them reduce their environmental impact.

With a master’s degree in landscape architecture, a certificate in urban design, and a bachelor’s degree in art history and design of the environment – all from the University of Pennsylvania – Brien has a long history of experience in landscape architecture and urban design and has worked with several highly regarded firms in the Philadelphia area. Her ability to manage people and projects is self-evident, and she gives back to her community as a member of the Scott Arboretum Council. Additionally, Brien has broad experience in teaching and lecturing.

“For 20-plus years, it has been my passion to create places that facilitate learning and build community,” said Brien. “After working with the Barnes, I saw how rewarding it can be to work with an organization that can do good and bring beauty into people’s lives. I look forward to the insights of the staff and the board to undertake this wonderful new challenge as executive director, a challenge I enthusiastically embrace.”

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