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Gardens and Tonic: From Trash to Treasure: A Story of Resiliency, Sustainability, and Beauty Among the Ruins

May 27, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Chief Operating Officer of South Coast Botanic Garden MaryLynn Mack, will share South Coast Botanic Garden’s story of how it began as an open-pit mine, became a residential landfill, and now thrives as an 87-acre garden filled with over 3,500 species of plants including palm, magnolia, crape myrtle, and Moreton Bay fig tree collections. There is a rich history underneath this beauty and MaryLynn will share how land resources were exploited, how South Coast emerged from that abuse, and talk about the challenges and celebrations that come with being a growing public garden – with a lesson to teach.     

With a commitment to serving others and building bridges of understanding, MaryLynn Mack sits on the American Public Gardens Association Board of Directors as Vice President and was the inaugural Chair of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Committee. She believes in empowerment through mentoring and has a passion for developing emerging professionals to become future leaders of a sustainable and thriving world. She is the Chief Operating Officer of the South Coast Botanic Garden, an 87-acre public garden that showcases eight different environment spaces, nestled in the rolling hills of the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County. One of the first gardens built on top of a landfill, the team is dedicated toward providing a garden for everyone and to showing best practices for conservation and sustainability.

Before joining South Coast in January, MaryLynn served as the Director of Operations at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona and has enjoyed successful careers as the Executive Director of the Rescue Mission’s Women and Children’s Center, and as Senior Director at the San Diego Natural History Museum. She nurtured her love of giving back and philanthropy as a founding member of the African American Women’s Giving and Empowerment Circle and as a Board Member at the Phoenix Metropolitan YWCA. Her efforts in women’s issues and arts and culture earned her the YWCA Tribute to Leadership and Black Philanthropy Institute Leadership awards. MaryLynn brings 30 years of staff and volunteer management, strategic planning, project development, and board and leadership expertise and is also a past recipient of the Virginia G. Piper Fellowship, a graduate of The Getty Leadership Institute, and a Veteran of the U.S. Navy.


Gardens and Tonic is a series of virtual webinars with horticulture professionals. Grab your favorite beverage and join Julie Jenney from the Scott Arboretum and a featured horticulture professional for plant-related topics, adventures, and stories – as well as design-focused talks on private and public gardens. Time will be set aside to answer your questions.

Registration is free but required. Participants must have Zoom downloaded on their computer and be comfortable using it. The webinar link will be included in the confirmation email received after registering online.


May 27, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Virtual Webinar