keynote speaker

Adam Schwerner

  As Disneyland Resort's Director of Horticulture and Resort Enhancement, Adam Schwerner is responsible for designing and maintaining the living beauty within the Resort. In his role, Schwerner oversees the landscaped and flower-filled lands, as well as the holiday, building and attraction décor teams.  

Prior to his work in Anaheim, Schwerner, was the director of the Chicago Park District’s multidisciplinary Department of Cultural and Natural Resources, where he spearheaded the Park District’s initiatives to forge bold, inclusive connections between the arts and Chicago’s neighborhoods by increasing arts presence - in all its permutations - throughout Chicago’s parks.   

Since 2005, as Director of the Department of Natural Resources, Mr. Schwerner orchestrated the overhaul of landscape management operations for the Park District’s 8,300 acres of parkland and transformed the Park District’s two major conservatories into internationally acclaimed facilities.  He frequently gives presentations to national and international audiences on topics including contemporary public garden design and the integration of art into public parks and gardens.   

· Director of Horticulture and Resort Enhancement for the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. 

· Oversees all the horticultural operations and holiday overlays at the Anaheim Resort. 

· Former Director of the Chicago Park District’s multidisciplinary Department of Cultural and Natural 


· Increased arts presence in Chicago’s neighborhoods throughout Chicago’s parks. 

· Past President of the Chicago Parks Foundation 

· Founder of the Lincoln Park Conservatory Council · Former member of the Chicago Wilderness Executive 


· Previously the Chicago Park District liaison to Chicago’s seven world-class museums and Lincoln Park Zoo.   

· Served as a board member and co-chair of the APGA Program Committee and as a member of the Chicago 

  and California APGA Conference Host Committee.     

· Degree in ornamental horticulture from Rutgers University. 

· Spent 12 years working at the New York Botanical Garden in NY prior to relocating to Chicago. 

· Served as the Chicago Park District’s Deputy Director of Conservatories.   

Session Information

  Adam will talk about his professional journey that has, over time, become more and more about the comingling of ornamental horticulture and his (and other’s) art practice. As the son of two artists, art-making is part of Adam’s genetic make-up and he has realized that there is no reason to keep the two practices separated and loves to share the product of these merged interests. 

After receiving a BS in Ornamental Horticulture, Adam worked at the New York Botanical Garden for 12 years. This was followed by a long stretch at the Chicago Park District where Adam ultimately became the Director for the Department of Cultural and Natural Resources. In this role he oversaw the management of 8,300 acres of park land and the arts programming across 570 parks. Since 2014, Adam has been the Director of Horticulture and Resort Enhancement at the Disneyland Resort. In this role, he oversees the horticultural, holiday and decorative overlays at the Resort.  

photo credit - Josh Enders Adam