Joy McCusker


Joy is part of the talented team of horticulturists who care for the gardens at Stoneleigh. Since Natural Lands acquired the property in 2016, the staff there have planted thousands of native species to bring both beauty and biodiversity to the garden.  

Joy has been a Longwood Gardens Summer Scholar, a supervisor of the experimental hydroponic greenhouse at the University of Delaware, and a naturalist outreach scientist at Cornell University where she taught children about seed dispersal. At Cornell, Joy also helped plan Chocolatada, a family festival to learn how cacao is transformed into chocolate, and Insectapalooza, an outreach weekend for the community to interact with insects. 

Joy loves to be outside hiking with her dog, Gravy, because they both think the woods are “magical.” She recalls a moment from childhood when she was enchanted by nature. “I remember walking home from my grandmothers house one evening. It looked like one of the shrubs along my walk had Christmas lights wrapped around it. I thought that was odd for mid-summer, and when I went to investigate, I realized that it was full of lightning bugs! Ever since then I’ve had a love for lightning bugs, and even dressed as one to get extra credit in an entomology course in college.” 

Her education includes an Agriculture and Landscape Horticulture undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware, and a Professional master’s degree from Cornell University in Public Garden Leadership. 

Ask Joy about: fungi (she’s an amateur mycologist).