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Molly Davis named director of The Arboretum

Molly Davis named director of The Arboretum

Molly Davis named director of The Arboretum

Davis becomes just the second director of The Arboretum.


Molly Davis, a Lexington landscape architect, has been named director of The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky. Davis’ selection was announced by Scott Smith, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Davis is a supervising landscape architect at Parsons Brinckerhoff, an international planning and design firm. In her 15 years at Parsons Brinckerhoff, she has been responsible for award-winning design and construction projects, several related to interpreting and preserving historic Kentucky landscapes. Davis lived and worked in England for several years and worked on projects both there and in France. Davis is a graduate of UK and has served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture.

Davis brings a diverse set of skills and experience to The Arboretum. She has extensive experience in public involvement and working with stakeholder groups. Davis has managed complex planning and design assignments in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. She has broad knowledge of Kentucky’s unique landscapes and resources. Her work in Clark County’s Lower Howard’s Creek won top honors from the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Davis is no stranger to The Arboretum. She was lead landscape architect for the Lower Glendover West (Mississippi Embayment) project that was constructed in 2006-2007. She also served on the new business committee tasked with implementing projects in the Kentucky Children’s Garden Master Plan and is a member of the Friends of The Arboretum.

“The Arboretum has made remarkable progress over a relatively short lifetime,” Smith said. “This has been the result of outstanding leadership and exceptional community support. With the appointment of Molly Davis as the next director, we are now very well positioned to continue the advancement of this Lexington treasure to new levels.”

Davis will take over the helm for Marcia Farris, who is retiring as director after serving in that role since 1999. Farris was the first full-time director.

“The opportunity to guide and direct The Arboretum comes once in a lifetime. Under the leadership of Marcia Farris, and with the support of the university, the city and dedicated friends, The Arboretum now has a visitor center, the children’s garden, the Walk Across Kentucky, educational programs and tremendous community support,” Davis said. “I want The Arboretum to continue to be a valued and cherished place for the community. My role also is to make The Arboretum, as the State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, an integral part of the region for all of its constituents—students of all ages, visitors to Lexington and the region, and anyone not familiar with it.”

"We conducted a thorough open search which involved input from many stakeholders,” said Lexington Vice Mayor Linda Gorton, who was a member of the search committee“The city of Lexington can be confident that Molly Davis is an excellent choice to lead the UK-LFUCG Arboretum into the future.”

The Arboretum began in 1991 as a joint effort between UK and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. It is managed through the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

The Arboretum consists of more than 100 acres of nature that fosters an understanding of relationships between people and their natural world; provides cultural opportunities for the community; serves as a community center for environmental education, horticulture, and urban forest renewal and emphasizes research on the environment and attention to conservation issues.

In March 2000, The Arboretum was named the official State Botanical Garden for Kentucky.

Davis begins her duties Jan. 1.

Community Development Environment Horticulture Sustainability

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Contact Information

Scovell Hall Lexington, KY 40546-0064