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From the Director

Michael McKechnieExecutive Director Michael McKechnie
By building partnerships among diverse organizations, focusing on creative programming, and establishing the right priorities, Executive Director Michael McKechnie has managed the successful growth of four vital nonprofits and served on the governing boards of a number of research, fundraising and civic organizations where he has provided governance, financial, and strategic planning oversight.

A special message from
Executive Director Michael McKechnie

Dear Friends,

Abies numidica by Eric Hunt
Deppea splendens by Michael Gonzales

Abies numidica by Eric Hunt
Don Mahoney, SFBGS Curator, Gardener Mike Catanzaro, and Associate Curator David Kruse-Pickler, planting vireyas.

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Abies numidica by Eric Hunt
Vireya in bloom

Abies numidica by Eric Hunt
Himalayan Fan Palm, Trachycarpus martianus, recently planted in the Southeast Asian Cloud Forest Garden

Last April as I celebrated Earth Day, I was reminded that plants are essential for all life on earth and yet, one-third of all plant species are in danger of dying out completely.

A global epidemic of plant extinction is daunting, but at the Garden there is hope. The San Francisco Botanical Garden is an ark of life, saving and sparing rare and endangered plant species from their demise by keeping them in cultivation.

2010 marks the 70th anniversary of this special place. Since 1940, volunteers, donors and members like you have kept our world class collection alive. Your support of our work here at the Garden is impressive and historic.

Mesoamerican Cloud Forest

Here at the Garden our work is literally saving some of these species from extinction; like Magnolia guatemalensis, or Deppea splendens, specimens we have living in our Mesoamerican Cloud Forest. Overall, the Garden's Magnolias are integral in terms of preserving rare and endangered species – the Garden was named first in the United States and fourth in the world by Botanic Gardens Conservation International for the significance of our Magnoliaceae collection. The Garden propagates many of these rare species and shares them with other botanical gardens to ensure their survival.

Planting the Southeast Asian Cloud Forest

New plantings in our Southeast Asian Cloud Forest Garden will produce the first collection of this kind in the world, showcasing for future generations rare and endangered plants. Don Mahoney, Garden Curator, notes that we play an important role in conserving species from this area of such high biodiversity – many research requests come from other parts of the world for these plants. David Kruse-Pickler, Associate Curator says, "In some cases, we are the only place that many of these plants can grow outside of their native habitats.  These habitats throughout Southeast Asia have been or are being developed so rapidly that many species are now very rare or endangered."

Don points to new plantings. "Thirty new trees have been planted to form what will be the cloud forest canopy and fifty vireyas are going in where shade exists now."   David notes, "One just has to walk through our Mesoamerican cloud forest that was planted in the eighties to get an idea of how amazing this new Southeast Asian cloud forest will be in twenty years!"

A Living Museum

Like a museum that houses great works of art, the Garden is alive with the greatest gifts of the natural world. People of all ages come to connect with and revel in this nature – to experience the precious collections of plants we hold so dear and so carefully keep alive.

Won't you help sustain the Garden and support your living museum with a gift this spring? Your investment assures the special collections we tend and protect will flourish far into the future.

Thank you for taking the time to support the Garden now. Your help is so important at this time!



Michael McKechnie
Executive Director, San Francisco Botanical Garden Society

P.S. In this time of economic hardship, we appreciate that you are loyal to the Garden. A gift of any size is truly helpful!