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Jonathan Kavalier

Director of Gardens and Grounds


As Director of Gardens and Grounds, Jonathan Kavalier oversees the daily operations and strategic planning for the 16.5 acres of gardens and landscapes at Dumbarton Oaks. Stewardship of the Beatrix Farrand–designed garden involves providing horticultural expertise and directing maintenance activities, directing conservation efforts for historic ornament, and managing greenhouse operations. Kavalier supervises a staff of 11 full-time employees, manages emergency and inclement weather responses, and develops long-term projects and budgets.

Kavalier received a BS in horticulture and international agriculture from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and has 18 years of experience in the field of horticulture and design. Before coming to Dumbarton Oaks, he managed garden operations and curated the tropical plant collection for Smithsonian Gardens, where he also led exhibit, outreach, and strategic planning efforts. After leaving Smithsonian Gardens in 2015, Jonathan served as a management analyst for the Architect of the Capitol, providing strategic planning and change-management expertise for Capitol Grounds and the United States Botanic Garden, among other internal clients.

Jonathan is a Certified Grounds Manager through the Professional Grounds Management Society, and a Senior Excellence in Government Fellow through the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, DC. Jonathan is also a certified Crucial Conversations trainer.