Bob Grese

Professor; Theodore Roosevelt Chair of Ecosystem Management; Director, Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum


M.S.L.A., University of Wisconsin (landscape architecture)

B.L.A. University of Georgia (landscape architecture)

(734) 763-0645
3576 Dana


Bob Grese serves as Director of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. His teaching and research involve ecologically-based landscape design and management that respects the cultural and natural history of a region. Grese is particularly interested in the restoration and on-going management of urban wilds and the role such lands can play in re-connecting children and families with nature. He has long been fascinated by the work of early designers such as Jens Jensen and Ossian Cole Simonds who borrowed from the native landscape in their work, as there is much to be learned about their designs and their fate over time. He has a growing interest in green roofs and other low impact design strategies.

Select publications: 
  • Grese, Robert E. 2015. "Engaging people in the design of landscapes." Fostering Reasonableness: Supportive Environments for Bringing Out Our Best edited by Rachel Kaplan and Avik Basu. Ann Arbor: Maize Books (Michigan Publishing). Pp. 329-346.
  • Grese, Robert E. 2014. "Time and change in the landscapes of Jens Jensen." History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes. 34:1 (January-March): 28-37.
  • Grese, Robert E. 2011. The Native Landscape Reader. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press in conjunction with the Library of American Landscape History.
  • Heslinga, Justin L. and Robert E. Grese. 2010. "Assessing Plant Community Changes Over Sixteen Years of Restoration in a Remnant Michigan Tallgrass Prairie," American Midland Naturalist. 164: 2 (October): 322-336.
  • Grese, Robert E. 2010. "Trends in Botanical Gardens and Arboreta: Connecting Kids to Nature."SITES:Michigan Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. (Spring) 5-7.

  • Garden Club of America, Honorary Director (2016-present).
  • Michigan Consortium of Botanists, Board (2013-present).
  • Sensory Garden Subcommittee, Ann Arbor Commission on Disability Issues (2012-2013).