David Michener

Dr. David C. Michener, Curator, University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum

(734) 647-8711
David’s current work at Matthaei-Nichols includes the Heritage Seeds project, a multi-year collaborative pilot initially funded by the Graham Sustainability Institute. In late 2020 corn and squash seeds from plants grown at Matthaei Botanical Gardens went back to the indigenous communities from which their ancestors came. Each year this work continues.
David came to Matthaei-Nichols in 1990 and has been engaged with the collections and their broad use in the university community ever since. He currently serves on the Museum Studies Program Faculty Advisory Committee and is a mentor faculty in the Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship. In 2020 he was recognized with the Carol Hollenshead Inspire Award for Excellence in Promoting Equity and Social Change. He has been an undergraduate student advisor or graduate committee member for engaged scholarship in U-M’s American Studies, MCDB, Penny Stamps School of Art & Design, PITE, SEAS, School of Information, and UROP.
David holds a B.A with Highest Honors in Botany from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Botany from Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California. David is the author of numerous technical reports and papers, many for agencies. He is a long-serving member and past chair of the editorial committee for The Public Garden, the quarterly publication of the American Public Garden Association. For popular audiences, David is the co-author of Taylor’s Guide to Groundcovers; Peonies: the Best Varieties for your Garden (which made the NY Times Best Summer Reading in 2018), and the recent Passion for Peonies (University of Michigan Press). David has led garden-study tours in Asia, Europe, New Zealand, and North America.