Executive Director of Tyler Arboretum.
Mandy Santiago’s career path hasn’t been a straightforward one, but it has been rewarding. “I’ve been very fortunate and definitely taken twists and turns,” she says.
Moving from social work to fundraising, Santiago has helmed grant-writing and appeal campaigns and projects for the Crozer-Keystone and Nemours healthcare systems, Natural Lands and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where she just earned her master’s degree in forensic medicine
Now, as executive director of the 650-acre Tyler Arboretum, one of Santiago’s main goals is growing a membership base that’s currently 2,500 strong. Right now, the arboretum sees upwards of 75,000 visitors a year. “We’re very lucky that we have a loyal base,” says the Springfield resident. “But we also want to introduce Tyler to people who aren’t as familiar with it.”
That includes making sure the property is accessible to low-income visitors and those with mobility issues. Santiago also hopes to increase family-friendly activities while introducing children to nature, whether it’s through summer camps or other initiatives. Santiago is launching a new CSI-inspired series, “Forensic Investigator,” for kids this fall.
Giving back to the community is also crucial to Tyler’s mission. Last year, the arboretum donated over 1,000 pounds of food from its edible garden to the Media Food Bank. Santiago is looking to do the same this year.
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