The Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens is excited to welcome Tyler Mason as its new Director of Education and Visitor Experience.
By Mindy Keyes Black
In his new role, Dr. Tyler Mason will lead educational program development and management, garden interpretation, conservation programming, and library and information services, as well as community outreach, partnerships, and engagement. Tyler began in the new role on February 14.
A familiar face at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Tyler has served for the past year as Urban Regional Extension Agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in the C. Beaty Hanna Horticulture and Environmental Center at the Gardens. In this position, he supported urban agriculture specialty crop producers and urban natural resource clients in Jefferson and Tuscaloosa Counties. He also collaborated with programming partners, including the Friends, to support urban agriculture in Alabama with a special focus on vegetable production and organic gardening.
Tyler brings to the position extensive experience in adult and youth programming, field trips, and outreach, along with a passion for horticulture and sustainable gardening.
After completing undergraduate degrees in agricultural education and horticulture from Purdue University, Tyler worked for five years at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he served as assistant education director as well as horticulturist. He went on to earn his master’s in agriculture and extension education and a doctorate in horticulture from Colorado State University. For his master’s thesis, he focused on retention of volunteers in a public garden setting.
“With his impressive experience rooted in a lifelong love of public gardens, we are delighted to welcome Tyler to the Friends team,” says Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens Executive Director Tom Underwood. “He will build on many successful programs and help shape the organization’s programmatic future, enabling us to continue to serve a broad, diverse audience and to offer a rich variety of experiences that promote sustainability, environmental stewardship, and a passion for plants, gardening, and the environment.”
“I’m so pleased to be joining the Friends,” says Tyler. “This is a perfect opportunity to combine my passion for horticulture and love for education. I look forward to enhancing educational programs and expanding adult and youth class offerings now and for many years to come. If you have an idea for a class, please consider reaching out.”