As Vice President of Science and Conservation, Murphy Westwood works to strengthen the Arboretum’s leadership activities in tree science and conservation.
Murphy supports the Arboretum’s service to the public to improve the health of the urban forest in the Chicago region, protect threatened tree species around the globe, facilitate technology transfer to industry and the public, and provide professional leadership to the world’s arboreta. She is also responsible for planning, strategic direction, program integration, fundraising, and external relations for Science and Conservation at the Arboretum.
Murphy oversees numerous key programs and initiatives, including:
- Scientific research through the Center for Tree Science
- Improving the health of the urban and community forest of the Chicago region through the Community Trees Program and Chicago Region Trees Initiative
- Building collaborations, strategizing, and protecting threatened tree species through the Global Tree Conservation Program
- Supporting professional development and collaboration among arboreta nationally and worldwide through ArbNet
In addition to her leadership position at the Arboretum, Murphy continues to work closely with colleagues from botanical gardens, universities, and other sectors in strategic locations like Mexico, Central America, Europe, China, and Southeast Asia—as well as throughout the United States—to develop conservation projects targeting key threatened tree species, especially oaks (genus Quercus).
She also creates tools, guidelines, publications, and other resources to build capacity and catalyze action for tree conservation. Murphy manages ArbNet, the interactive, global community of arboreta and tree-focused professionals. She also leads the Global Conservation Consortium for Oak; is a Global Tree Conservation Officer for Botanic Gardens Conservation International, and works to build support for the Global Trees Campaign.