Nicole Cavender, PhD, is the vice president of science and conservation at The Morton Arboretum.
Dr. Cavender works to strengthen the Arboretum’s leadership and activities in tree science and conservation, and she is responsible for programs that generate new knowledge and help transfer that knowledge to professionals and communities. She oversees:
- The scientific research programs including Tree Care and Improvement, Dynamics of Forested Ecosystems, Urban Forests and Ecosystem Services, Genetics and Biodiversity, Plant Community Ecology and Conservation Biology, and Restoration Ecology and Natural Resource Management.
- The Center for Tree Science which brings together experts from diverse fields to catalyze innovative research and provide training opportunities that expands tree science and develops solutions to secure the future for trees and people
- The Community Trees Program which helps communities, public and private landowners, land managers, tree professionals and groups interested in trees effectively care for our urban and community forest
- The Chicago Region Trees Initiative in which the Arboretum coordinates a collaboration of organizations, agencies, communities and associations in the seven county Chicago metropolitan area (Lake, Cook, McHenry, Kane, Kendall, Will and DuPage counties) who together focus on building a healthier urban forest that provides the region with improved environmental economic and social benefits
- The Global Trees Conservation Program working in partnership with BGCI (Botanical Gardens Conservation International) to build awareness, build networks and develop activities that result in preventing the extinction of endangered trees; advance tree conservation initiatives in China; and build support for the Global Trees Campaign
- ArbNet which administers an arboretum accreditation program to strengthen the arboretum network and foster arboreta professionalism
Dr. Cavender supports collaborative efforts to plant more trees and build healthier, more sustainable communities. She serves on the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Research Advisory Council, where she advocates for research in urban forestry. She is on the executive council of Chicago Wilderness, a regional alliance of more than 300 nonprofit and corporate organizations that work together to restore local nature and improve the quality of life for all living things in the Chicago region. She serves on the board of EcoMyths, an organization that empowers people to make eco-friendly choices by presenting simple science in entertaining ways.
Prior to 2012, she was chief programmatic officer at The Wilds, a large conservation center in southeastern Ohio, where she led the development and activities of its restoration ecology program from 2002-2011.
PhD, The Ohio State University, Horticulture and Crop Science
BS, Ohio University, Environmental and Plant Biology
2014 curriculum vitae