The Jay Heritage Center has started the new year on a high note, with the addition of an inaugural Director of Horticulture and Garden Education to lead the newly installed and sustainable Jay Gardens, as well as a new trustee.
In March, Lucia Maestrowill join the team as the nonprofit’s first Director of Horticulture and Garden Education. She will be responsible for the care of the revitalized Jay Gardens, along with the creation of unique horticultural programs related to the cultural and natural significance of the site.
“In 2009 the Jay Estate was added to the list of 100 must-see sites in the Hudson Valley River National Heritage Area for its focus on themes of sustainability, landscape, and freedom and dignity,” said Suzanne Clary, JHC board president. “Lucia will help us expand our programming in those areas and afford families greater access to our extensive outdoor classrooms.”
Maestro’s background is as a horticulturist, landscape designer, and environmental consultant. An avid gardener, she became a community advocate after she started volunteering in several community and school gardens in the Bronx with the New York Botanical Garden in 2008.
She currently combines her work as an Adjunct Professor at Manhattanville Collegewith other side projects where she develops educational activities and programs with a strong focus on environment, social justice, food security, gardening, and sustainability. She coordinates their community garden and greenhouse, and works alongside colleagues, students, and volunteers while sharing her passion for gardening and sustainable practices. She also serves as committee member for Earth Day week at Manhattanville and as their Audubon Society Campus Ambassador.
Most recently she joined the NYBG Children’s Educational Programas an Educator, and developed the Harrison Public Librarychildren’s garden programming, both in 2021. She lives in Purchase with her husband and two children, who all enjoy spending time outdoors and harvesting fresh and organic seasonal fruits and veggies from the community garden nearby.
The latest addition to the Jay board is Caroline Walker, who brings extensive communications and marketing experience to the role. She worked for decades in press and communications at CNN, AOL, and Simon & Schuster, and has also worked for the U.S. Senate, World Wildlife Fund, and Columbia University. More recently Caroline has consulted for McKinsey, Accenture, and the Better Business Bureau.
Walker has been involved with a number of civic organizations at Rye Town Park and the Rye Historical Society. She is currently working with Thinker Analytix, a group of Harvard philosophers committed to teaching students critical thinking skills.