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Welcome ICG’s New Executive Director

Ithaca Children’s Garden is excited to announce Candice Meade (she/her) as its new Executive Director!

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, who served in this role from 2011.

I am thrilled to be joining Ithaca Children’s Garden as its new Executive Director. 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.

Candice Meade, ICG Executive Director

From 2010-2013, I lived and learned in Ithaca. During this time, I was introduced to environmental education and experienced my first environmental education program while volunteering with the Ithaca Children’s Garden. I also traveled to study Patagonian steppe vegetation and urban environmental education which cultivated my interest in a career in natural history and outdoor and environmental education. In 2013, I graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Natural Resources. 

After completing my undergraduate degree, I moved to Annapolis, MD to take part in the Chesapeake Conservation Corps Internship at the Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park (AMMP). I went on to spend six years with AMMP, cultivating community engagement as their first Community Program Manager. Alongside an amazing staff, I helped grow AMMP’s education department from 300 to 10,000 annual program participants. I coordinated and led camps, field trips, and community programs year-round, with a dedication to relationship building and the creation of innovative, hands-on programming. My professional journey with the Museum brought forth a personal passion for connecting children and families to nature and fostering child-driven, inquisitive, outdoor exploration. Opportunities to attend the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) conferences each year were career highlights where I built connections and learned from inspiring and esteemed educators. 

Upon completion of my Master’s in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Johns Hopkins University in 2018, I took an opportunity with the Institute for Conservation Leadership (ICL). As the Program and Administrative Coordinator at ICL, I managed program logistics, internal operations, communications, and fundraising for the non-profit organization. Extra: Candice grew up in Pennsylvania where she spent many of her childhood days helping her mom tend their family garden and growing sunflowers, her favorite flower. This time spent outdoors with her family fostered her love for the environment.

While there are many amazing projects and programs in motion, I am most eager to help bring the Urban Environmental Education and Community Center to life. I have experienced the positive impact a building and homebase can have for staff, program participants, and community members, so this is something I yearn to help the team achieve.  ICG is a blossoming community space, and I look forward to exploring the ways in which the Garden can continue as a community resource and grow in its partnerships and programming. I am ready to bring passion, dedication, and joy to each day in my new role with the Garden.