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From the Executive Director


Dear Friends,

Monterey Cypress on the Great Lawn at SFBG
Monterey Cypress on the Great Lawn at SFBG


Public Meeting: April 6, 6:30pm

The Recreation and Park Department is holding a public meeting on April 6 at 6:30 in the County Fair Building. Please come support these initiatives.

    We believe the combination of unifying these three specialty gardens within Golden Gate Park and implementing an admission fee at the Botanical Garden will provide many benefits to the public, including these:

  • Value admissions for all three gardens
  • Membership that provides free access to all three gardens
  • Free days and mornings
  • Free to all school groups and children under a certain age
  • Expand Youth Education program from 10,000 K-5 to 20,000 SFUSD students using all three sites
  • Expand volunteer opportunities to all three gardens
  • Provide Horticultural Library support for all three gardens
  • Extend the Botanical Garden's curatorial function to all three gardens
  • Provide exhibits and cultural festivals at all three
Conservatory of Flowers
Conservatory of Flowers

Japanese Tea Garden
Japanese Tea Garden

Japanese Tea Garden
Japanese Tea Garden

Conservatory of Flowers
Conservatory of Flowers

As many of you now know the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society has been asked by the Recreation and Park Department to support an admission policy for the Garden. After careful deliberation, the Society's Board of Trustees decided that they should give their support and work with the Department to find as many ways as possible to assure that San Franciscans and others in the region will continue to have access to the Garden. We are suggesting a number of ways to make that happen including free days, no charge for school groups, and other ideas to promote access.

We believe that admissions at the Botanical Garden will not only enhance the Society's conservation education efforts but also support the Department's crucial maintenance functions, including its excellent gardening staff.

Now the Department has asked the Society to consider working with them to support the Conservatory of Flowers and the Japanese Tea Garden in addition to our 54-year-old history of support for the Arboretum. All of these special gardens are outstanding and deserving of horticultural attention. The Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum is 55 acres encompassing a broad collection of 7,500 different plant species from around the world, including over 200 rare and endangered species. The Conservatory of Flowers is the oldest surviving wood framed greenhouse in the United States, and the Japanese Tea Garden is the oldest of its kind in the nation. Each contains valuable plant material and each has the ability to teach the public about horticulture and sustainability, the objectives of most Botanical Gardens in the US.

The Society is honored to have been asked to step up to this task. We realize that we will be undertaking the support of the Recreation and Park Department at two additional horticultural and civic treasures. Each of these outstanding gardens brings with it its own history, traditions and legions of supporters. We look forward to building on this history and providing even more support for each. We also believe there is much to be gained by sharing the expertise now existing in the three institutions.

We look forward to extending member benefits to include access to all three gardens and an admission fee structure that will result in cost savings for those wishing to visit all three gardens. We are excited about the possibilities of mounting exhibits and displays that utilize each location to tell the sustainability and conservation education story. We are already planning how we can extend our Youth Education Program to the other sites.

Finally, we are determined that by adding the Conservatory and Tea Garden to the Society's responsibilities, we will never neglect the Arboretum. To date the Society has raised more than $22 million to fund much needed capital projects here, and, as most of you have probably observed, those funds are being used to make significant improvements throughout the Botanical Garden.

I would enjoy hearing from you about this exciting new endeavor. We will need your support more than ever. And I hope you will come to enjoy and appreciate all of these San Francisco treasures even more.

Warm regards,

Michael

Michael McKechnie
Executive Director, San Francisco Botanical Garden Society

 

Back to April 2009 newsletter >>