The Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation in Orange welcomes Rick Lewandowski as the new Managing Director of Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, effective Tuesday. Lewandowski is a horticulturist and naturalist who most recently served as the Director of Mt. Cuba Center, a nonprofit horticultural institution located on nearly 600 acres in Greenville, Del.

During his 13-year tenure at Mt. Cuba Center, Lewandowski led a 36-member professional staff on property comprised of woodland gardens, historic landscapes, and natural areas with a mission to preserve and promote the flora of the eastern and southeastern U.S. In addition to administrative and operational functions, he oversaw educational programs and launched curatorial planning, collections database initiatives and the plant exploration/plant introduction program.

Since February 2012, Lewandowski has lectured and taught around the United States, organized field trips to collect plant material for study, and continued his volunteer work with professional organizations and affiliations. Lewandowski is a recognized authority and has lectured nationally and published widely in the field of horticulture.

“I am excited that Rick Lewandowski will be joining our team as Director of Shangri La,” said Joseph Johnson, Director of Horticulture and Interim Director of Shangri La. “Rick is both professional and personable, and he brings a breadth of experience from his work at Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware as well as the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. I look forward to working with Rick in advancing the mission of Shangri La and making it a world-class botanical gardens and nature center.”

Along with his wife, Veronica, Lewandowski is passionate about gardening and paleontology. He holds a Master of Science in Horticulture from the University of Maryland and Bachelor of Science in Horticulture/Landscape Design from Kansas State University. He is looking forward to becoming part of the Orange, Texas community and surrounding region, and his extensive knowledge and focus on community relations and environmental concerns will make him a welcome addition to the STARK Cultural Venues.