Nancy Kartes discovered the joys of public gardens through internships as a student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Ornamental Horticulture. After graduation, Nancy joined the Development staff of the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii where she was later promoted to Assistant Director.
Returning to the Mainland, she was hired by the City of Bellevue Parks & Community Services Department in Bellevue, Washington, to transform the dreams of local community organizers into a flourishing botanical garden. Under her leadership, the Bellevue Botanical Garden has grown from a 36- acre property to 53-acres of curated living collections that operate in partnership with ten horticultural organizations. In addition to the collections that are visited by 400,000 people annually, the Garden has a thriving shop, espresso service, and hosts community building events throughout the year. Nancy manages the partnership with the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society, a non-profit that conducts educational programming, hosts events, and raises funds on behalf of the Garden.
Nancy has served as an American Public Gardens Association Director-at-Large since 2017. She brings insight into the needs of small public gardens and experience in community building, public/private governance and identifying and leveraging resources from diverse sources. She has a special interest in encouraging young people and emerging professionals toward careers in public garden administration and leadership.