Meet the Staff

Jessica Fiske Bailey Jessica Fiske Bailey — Executive Director

Phone: (831) 502-2302

Although I attended UCSC for my first two years of college, I initially learned about the Arboretum fairly recently, after working at UCSC for several years. Like many who visit, I was bowled over by the amazing collection, wonderful atmosphere, and beauty of the grounds and joined the Friends Board. After several years, I was assigned as part of my position of Assistant Vice Provost of Academic Affairs at UCSC to support the Arb and recently was assigned as its Executive Director. My other duties at the University include online faculty evaluations, new faculty orientation, the Leadership Institute, and other special projects.

I have worked at UCSC for nine years, mostly as the Assistant Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education responsible for strategic planning, policy development, resource management, and the administration of special projects that affect the instruction and transformative experiences of students on campus. I have also been interim director of the International Education Office, interim administrative director of Programs Abroad, interim director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, and interim director of Summer Sessions.

Prior to working at UCSC, I was a consultant to non-profits and courts, a coordinator for judicial education programs, and a fundraiser for the Point Reyes Bird Observatory.

I have a Master’s of Public Administration from University of Southern California and a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from the University of California at Los Angeles. Although I was born and lived much of life in Southern California, I am a true northern California gal, finding nourishment from nature rather than Hollywood.

Brett Hall — Director of Collections and Conservation

Phone: (831) 502-2304

I was born and raised along the Central California coast, mostly in the Monterey Bay region. In the early 70's, I worked at my family's landscaping and garden design business. I was an undergrad at UCSC and worked at the Arboretum, graduating with a BA in Natural History and Biology. I started on the staff in October 1975 and became garden manager in 1976. My duties have evolved over the past 30 years into my current position. I oversee the horticultural staff and my role with that is increasingly as an advisor/coach, as well as working to get them the resources they need to succeed. I am continuing to play an active role in the development of many of our collections and have traveled overseas and throughout the West to accomplish this. I have been very fortunate to spend 30 years working in the Arboretum developing collections, planting gardens, and working with our wonderful group of staff, students and volunteers. My special interests include many of our collections but I plan on focusing considerable effort in the development of our native plant program and the California Native Conservation Gardens. I enjoy working with dedicated volunteers who have a genuine interest in botany and horticulture. [Brett is now President of the California Native Plant Society.]

Administrative/Programs/Education Staff

Stephen McCabe — Director of Research, Curator of Succulents

Phone: (831) 502-2305

I have enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm for plants starting at a young age, then through work as a naturalist in Pinnacles, Año Nuevo, and Yosemite, and since 1985 here at the Arboretum. Part of the satisfaction I get from work here are the successes achieved by the wonderful community of volunteers, students, and staff working towards a common goal. We work on tours, signs, the website, educational events, the library, native plants, and succulents. We raise money through plant sales and the Dried Flower and Succulent Wreath Sale.

I coordinate Arboretum research done by students and professors from UCSC and other institutions. I help TAs and professors use the garden for classes. I write grants, press releases, and for publications. My horticultural and conservation research is on natives and succulents, and my botanical research is on the genus Dudleya. I have taught UCSC courses

Jessica MacottoJennifer Macotto — Director of Development


Phone (831) 502-2303

I am thrilled to be part of the amazing staff at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and I am honored and inspired to have the opportunity to play a vital role in the securing the Arboretum’s future for the next fifty years. I was fortunate to inherit a love of the land from the last four generations of my family of small family farmers. I have continued forward with this deeply rooted foundation and strong work ethic with vegetable and flower gardens from across the country and as far away as Honduras.

In my new position at the Arboretum, my most important role is to serve as a liaison to the university for the staff, volunteers and donors to help promote communication and maximize fundraising efforts. I hope to make a significant difference in making the Arboretum an even stronger resource for our community of plant and planet lovers and continue to demonstrate the important role the Arboretum plays in furthering the academic mission of UC Santa Cruz.

Katie Cordes — Office Manager


Phone (831) 502-2300

After 3 years working elsewhere on campus I am thrilled to be back at the Arboretum with it's amazingly knowledgeable, talented and hardworking staff, volunteers, student workers, interns and dedicated, caring membership and of course, the wonderful plant collections.

My love of plants began as a child in the garden and continued to grow as I did, leading me to obtain a B.A. in Biology from UC Santa Cruz with a fondness and deep interest in the conservation of Californian Ecological Communities. Two years ago I really enjoyed taking the California Naturalist Program here at the Arboretum and last year my children loved attending the Riekes Nature Awareness Program hosted here at the Arboretum.

Currently, my work at the Arboretum involves managing and overseeing all aspects of the Arboretum Office including providing support for Norrie's Gift Shop, volunteer coordination, purchasing and fiscal processes, gift and membership, event management and support, and general administrative support to all staff.

Curatorial Staff

Helen Englesburg — Nursery Manager

Phone: (831) 502-2307

I graduated from UCSC in 1991 with a BA in Biology with an emphasis on plant sciences. I began working at the Arboretum in 1984 as a student employee. In 1989, I was hired to do propagation and manage the nursery. My responsibilities include propagating and raising plants for the gardens and collections, especially the Australian and South Africa Gardens. I work with a wonderful group of volunteers, propagating and growing plants sold at Norrie's and at Arboretum plant sales. I also coordinate volunteer work sessions in Ruth and Shirleys' Flower Garden, our cut flower garden.

Melinda Kralj — Curator of Australian Collection

Phone: (831) 502-2309

I graduated from UCSC in 1978 with degrees in Biology & Art. I worked at San Lorenzo Garden Center for over a decade. While working at the nursery, I began volunteering at the Arboretum, and was hired in 1989. I take care of the Australian Collections. Most of my time is devoted to the Slosson Gardens and the Banksia Field. This year (2006) we will begin exciting and challenging work on an Australian Rock Garden. In the future, I would like to devote more time and energy to give the Eucalyptus Grove the attention it deserves. Every Thursday morning, a dedicated, hard-working group of volunteers called the "Aussie Weeders" contribute their hard work and creativity to making the Australian garden more beautiful.

Thomas Sauceda — Curator of New Zealand Collection

Phone: (831) 502-2308

I received a Bachelor of Arts in the fields of Biology, and Environmental Studies, UCSC 1985; and subsequently studied Spanish at Cabrillo College. I began to work at the Arboretum as a student in 1981. I became the Curator of the New Zealand Collection in 1987. My work involves all aspects of the New Zealand collection, which includes the Ed Landel's New Zealand Garden. This involves anything from noxious weed removal to giving tours of the garden. I am also involved with the development and maintenance of the Chilean Collection. I have traveled to New Zealand and Chile to collect plants and to gain a better understanding of native plant communities. I oversee students and volunteers that work on garden maintenance—mowing, weeding, pruning, irrigation, plantings, and nursery work—potting, propagation, and more. I am very grateful for all their hard work and always welcome more help.

Rick Flores — Curator of California Natives Collection

Phone: (831) 502-2310

I grew up playing soccer in the suburbs of Los Angeles and moved to Santa Cruz in 1995 to attend UCSC where I graduated in 1997 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. Since graduation I have been employed at the Arboretum and am currently the Curator of the California Native Plant Collection and Amah Mutsun Relearning Program. My focus is on the conservation, education, and indigenous historical ecology of California native plants as well as assisting the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band in their efforts to relearn their ethnobotany and traditional resource and environmental management practices, and educating students and the general public about California Indian lifeways.

In the fall of 2014 I headed back to school, having been accepted into the Environmental Studies Doctoral Program here at UCSC. I am continuing at the Arboretum half time. My area of research is the contemporary efforts of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band to relearn their ethnobotany and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), and how the relearning of this knowledge can be beneficial to both the Tribe and other indigenous groups, as well as modern day conservation, restoration, and preservation efforts of land managers. I will also focus this attention on how best to reintroduce native food plants back into the indigenous diet while adhering to the Tribe’s epistemology.