Damon Waitt is Director of the North Carolina Botanical Garden and Professor of the Practice in Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As Director, Waitt has broad responsibility for overall leadership and management of the North Carolina Botanical Garden and for ensuring that the Garden fulfills its mission to inspire understanding, appreciation, and conservation of plants and to advance a sustainable relationship between people and nature.
As a practicing botanist, Waitt’s primary interest is in building capacity in the human, scientific, technological, organizational, institutional and resource capabilities that support botanical education, research and management currently declining across government, academic, and private sectors. Increasing our Botanical Capacity will be essential to solving the grand challenges of the next century, including climate change, sustainability, food security, preservation of ecosystem services, conservation of threatened species, and control of invasive species.
Waitt comes to the North Carolina Botanical Garden from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas in Austin where he served as Senior Director and Botanist from 2001-2015 and had broad responsibility for developing the Wildflower Center’s 279 acres of gardens and natural areas and authored the Center’s Native Plant Information Network (www.wildflower.org/explore).