Mexican-born landscape architect, Tomás Herrera-Mishler, was raised in Latin America and later moved to the United States. He holds a Master’s in Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning with a specialization in Urban Design from the University of Michigan. He is the CEO and President of the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida.
Most recently Tomás as the first CEO of the Balboa Park Conservancy in San Diego, CA. At the Balboa Park Conservancy, Tomás partnered with the City of San Diego in sustaining, enhancing, and envisioning one of the world’s most unique public landscapes, home to the San Diego Zoo, 17 museums and 20 public gardens. Of particular note is the successful fundraising, programmatic planning, design and construction documentation for the restoration of the park’s iconic Botanical Building which is now underway. Other significant accomplishments include the complete digital inventory of the park’s 15,,000 trees and the addition of 800 new trees to the park’s collections, restoration of the historic cactus garden, restoration of the historic Alcazar Garden, restoration of the Casa de Balboa’s historic courtyard and gardens and the launch of the Tree Stewards and Garden Stewards volunteer programs. The volunteer program was designated a Point of Light Foundation Service Enterprise, a distinction earned by only 11%of the nation’s nonprofit organizations. While CEO he launched a highly successful giving society that raised $600,000 in its first year. He also secured the funding and oversaw the development and adoption of an updated park-wide signage master plan.
During his tenure as CEO and President of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Tomás helped to secure almost $30 million for capital improvement projects toward the implementation of the park system’s visionary master plan which h e led to completion. He oversaw partnerships to provide green industry work experiences for disadvantaged individuals and recent immigrants, building a staff of 38-42% minority backgrounds, achieving best-in-class landscape maintenance conditions throughout the city-wide organically managed park system. He is most proud of the 5000 new trees added to the landscape over his tenure, restoration of the historic River Rock Gardens, restoration of the water basin at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, restoration of the Japanese Garden at Delaware Park, restoration of the Rose Garden Pergola and establishment of a historic archive for the park system.
He has worked as the Executive Director of the Awbury Arboretum in Philadelphia, Airlie Gardens in Wilmington, NC, and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Boston, Mass. He worked as a landscape architect at the firms of Wallace Roberts Todd and EDSA prior to moving to the nonprofit sector. Tomás has designed projects across the US, the Caribbean, his native country, Mexico, and Mallorca, Spain.
Tomás served on the boards of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, and the National Association of Olmsted Parks. He is a founding board member of the Western New York Environmental Alliance. Tomás was named Preservation Hero 2013 by the Library of American Historic Landscapes. He served as co-chair of the ASLA Parks and Recreation Professional Practice Network. He is a frequent speaker in English and Spanish at national and international conferences and most recently spoke at the annual conference of the Mexican Association of Parks and Recreation (ANPR) on Sustainable Landscape Management. Other topics include Water in the Park Landscape. He published an article on Organic Landscape Maintenance in the magazine of the ANPR. He presented at the American Public Health Association Conference on the Economic Impact of Fitness Activities in Public Parks based on the findings of the Economic Impact Study for Balboa Park which he commissioned in 2018.