President & Chief Executive Officer
Everglades Wonder Gardens
Bonita Springs, Florida
Mr. Thomas S. Hecker took the helm of Everglades Wonder Gardens in late 2016, bringing the newly established non-profit decades of environmental non-profit management experience and a vast knowledge of tropical horticulture and plant-animal interactions. His significant experience in strategic planning, management, and fundraising and his boundless passion and enthusiasm for the Southwest Florida environment made him the perfect choice for this key role.
Mr. Hecker has held numerous positions at various US institutions, including: Tropical Horticulturist at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, Missouri; Director of the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Insectarium at the Museum of Life & Science in Durham, North Carolina; Founding Director of Horticulture at Naples Botanical Garden; and, most recently, CEO of the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC).
Prior to joining CHEC, Mr. Hecker served as Director of Operations at Cinco Ceibas in Costa Rica and as CEO of his own environmental design and horticulture consulting firm. His company’s clients included the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Houston Zoo, Singapore’s Garden by the Bay, Miami Beach Botanical Garden, and famed illusionist and Bahamas island owner David Copperfield.
Extremely well-travelled, Mr. Hecker has led numerous natural history tours and been charged with collecting tropical flora and fauna in Central and South America for exhibitory purposes. Mr. Hecker holds degrees in Environmental Studies and Horticulture from Prescott College, Arizona, and a Certificate in Non-profit Management from Duke University, North Carolina.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised south of Tampa on the Alafia River, Mr. Hecker and his wife Jennifer, who serves as Executive Director of the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, have two adult sons, Reed and Forest.
Everglades Wonder Gardens: evergladeswondergardens.com
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