Kris S. Jarantoski, Executive Vice President and Director of the Chicago Botanic Garden has been awarded an Honorary Membership to the American Society of Landscape Architects. The award recognizes persons other than landscape architects whose achievements of national or international significance or influence have provided notable service to the profession of landscape architecture. Jarantoski was cited for his nearly 40 year tenure at the Chicago Botanic Garden, where he managed more than 20 world-class landscape improvement projects. He has worked with a diverse pool of landscape architects, including Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Oehme van Sweden, Dan Kiley, Mikyoung Kim, Geoff Rausch and Melissa Marshall to create display gardens and natural areas that are enjoyed by a million plus visitors annually.
In tribute to Jarantoski’s guiding vision and contributions to the Garden over nearly four decades, a new campus bearing his name is now in development and will include a new nursery, head house and production greenhouse ranges. Integral to this new campus is a shade garden designed by Belgian landscape architect Peter Wirtz.
Jarantoski joined the staff at the Chicago Botanic Garden in 1977 as an assistant horticulturist. He was named Vice President of Horticulture and became Assistant Director in 1993. During this time he directed operations and development of all horticulture departments. He was named Director of the Chicago Botanic Garden in 1995 and Executive Vice President in 2001. He has been active in various professional organizations, including the American Public Garden Association. Internationally, he chaired the Horticulture Review Panel at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew where he led a panel of botanic garden and design experts engaged to assess and advise the quality, balance and scope of horticulture at the United Kingdom garden.
Other awards include the Professional Award from the American Horticulture Society in 2007; Distinguished Service Medal from The Garden Club of America in 2011 and Honorary Membership in 2016; George Robert White Medal of Honor from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 2015; Honorary Life Member Award from the APGA in 2014 and the Arthur Hoyt Scott Medal and Award in 2015 from Swarthmore College.
Jaranatoski will retire in February, 2017.