(Photo courtesy of Ithaca Children's Garden)

ITHACA, N.Y.—Ithaca Children’s Garden has announced Candice Meade as its new leader, stating she will start the job next week. She replaces longtime Ithaca Children’s Garden Executive Director Erin Marteal.

Meade graduated from Cornell University in 2013, according to a press release, and subsequently obtained her Master’s Degree in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Johns Hopkins University in 2018. She previously worked at the Institute for Conservation Leadership and the Annapolis Maritime Museum.

Candice Meade (Photo provided)

“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,” Meade said. “I am grateful to join a team with such exciting and dynamic ideas and plans for the Garden.” 

The press release touts Meade’s “robust background in environmental sciences and natural resource management along with accomplishments as an environmental educator, program coordinator and operations manager.”

Sonja Skelly, the president of ICG’s Board of Directors, celebrated Meade’s hiring, while the press release noted Meade’s skills including summer camp programming, boosting community engagement and developing collaborative partnerships.

“The Board is excited to bring Ms. Meade back to Ithaca and by her experiences in environmental education, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion work, and by her passion for ICG’s mission to connect children to nature to create a more beautiful, resilient, and just world,” Skelly said.

She also congratulated Marteal on her decade of leadership with the ICG.

“Erin’s vision brought much-loved spaces to the Garden including the Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone, Bulb Labyrinth Memorial Garden, and Kids’ Kitchen. She also imagined and brought to life wonderful events such as the Festival of Fire & Ice, International Mud Day, and the Tough Turtle obstacle race,” Skelly said. “At the heart of Marteal’s work was her commitment to all children having access to the Garden and to nature. This commitment enabled ICG to help expand outdoor learning at each of the elementary schools within Ithaca City School District during the pandemic, and to develop engaging summer camps, Playful Nature Explorers preschool, and After School @ ICG programming that center inclusion and access. Her leadership has immensely transformed the Garden, and the hearts of those who have worked alongside her.”

Matt Butler is the Editor in Chief of The Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.org.