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- Denver Botanic Gardens' mission is to connect people with plants, especially plants from the Rocky Mountain region and similar regions around the world, providing delight and enlightenment for everyone.
To this mission, the Gardens added four core values as an integral element of a new branding platform. These values, adopted in 2007 - transformation, relevance, diversity and sustainability - spell out the Gardens' intentions in the years ahead. Along with the Gardens' new brand platform, strategy, icon, and the Flourish Capital Campaign, the core values are cohesive and serve as a map to chart our course.
In 2015, the Gardens welcomed visitors from all over the world to explore the showcases of native and drought-tolerant plants. The Gardens' outdoor art exhibition was "Deborah Butterfield: The Nature of Horses" and featured 15 life-size bronze horse sculptures throughout the Gardens. The Urban Food Initiative expanded to offer affordable fresh produce grown at Chatfield Farms to local food desert communities. The Center for Global Initiatives continued its important partnerships with botanic gardens and communities around the world to educate and guide the development of plant conservation and research. The Gardens enjoyed its first corpse flower bloom in August. More than 55,000 visitors waited in line to see "Stinky" the corpse flower's massive bloom.
Denver Botanic Gardens was founded in 1951 by local gardeners, botanists and civic leaders. In 1958 the Gardens moved to its current primary location on York Street. The Gardens expanded in 1966 to include the Boettcher Memorial Conservatory, an indoor facility for tropical and sub-tropical plants, which made the Gardens a year-round attraction. The Conservatory soon became one of the ten most significant major conservatories in the United States, and is currently the only major tropical plant conservatory in the Rocky Mountain region. The unique structure, designed by Hornbein & White, became a city-designated historic landmark in 1973.
Denver Botanic Gardens is accredited by the American Association of Museums and is internationally recognized for the variety of its plants and gardens, including its Japanese Garden, Plains Garden, Rock Alpine Garden, Sensory Garden and water lily collection. The Gardens' Helen Fowler Library houses 33,000 items and is the largest collection devoted to botany, horticulture and gardening in the Rocky Mountain region.
The Gardens extends to three unique locations:
1) York Street, the 23-acre main location, includes indoor and outdoor plant displays, an herbarium, a library, lecture halls and classrooms. Plant displays feature over 32,500 species of plants in 45 gardens. The gardens feature plants from over 30 countries with arid climates similar to that of Colorado.
2) Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield encompasses 750 acres of open space southwest of Denver in one of the country's fastest growing suburban areas. It offers nature trails, educational exhibits, an historic farm and schoolhouse and 50 acres of wetland and riparian communities. The site is also an affiliate of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, a national leader in native plant research and education.
3) Mount Goliath Alpine Trail presents an interpretive high altitude trail and alpine garden, as well as a Nature Center located along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway. Mount Goliath is managed in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and is the highest rock alpine garden in the world.
Board Chair/President Statement
Dr. Jandel Allen-Davis
Chair, Board of Trustees
"Connecting people to plants through transformation, relevance, diversity and sustainability." There's an aspirational mission and set of core values!
Public gardens, not unlike a host of other public spaces, provide an opportunity for people to slow down and reconnect with themselves and others at a deep and soulful level. Surrounded by amazing beauty and the opportunity to learn new things or reinforce existing knowledge, those who visit public gardens tap into something
primal. We are connected to old and enduring memories of times past, we are inspired to take that art class we have put off, we smile watching children delight in abundant colors and textures… in short, we feel reconnected to the earth and its possibilities.
What an amazing year 2014 was for the Gardens, as so much work exceeded our wildest dreams. In addition to hosting the American Public Gardens Association Annual Conference, we premiered the Chihuly exhibition which significantly increased visitation and membership and further strengthened our ability to support our mission at an delicious food surrounded by unmatched beauty. Those who visit the Science Pyramid, which has attracted national
and international attention for its architectural beauty and complexity, learn about Colorado and global steppe regions in a uniquely interactive and technologically advanced way.
But that isn't all. The programs that serve the mission of connecting plants to people reinforce our intent to be a garden for all. Through our Center for Global Initiatives, water conservation efforts, Urban Food Initiatives, horticultural therapy work, diversity outreach and work with veterans, Denver Botanic Gardens is intent on evolving
its relevance and being an institution that exists to serve the entire community.
We are so profoundly blessed to have Denver Botanic Gardens in Colorado to delight the senses and stimulate the mind. The staff and volunteers work in service to our mission with utmost fidelity. We do it because we believe that this is the work that will attract all people to the Gardens and in turn nourish them and us.
The Board of Trustees thanks you for your continued support of the work. Without this, much of what we do would be near impossible and would certainly limit our ability to dream boldly! Please enjoy learning more of what 2014 brought as we prepare for the future. We look forward to seeing you around the Gardens.
The Gardens' core values: transformation, relevance, diversity and sustainability have enabled the Gardens to increase the ways we connect people with plants. The unification of art and science, as well as the art of science, shaped Gardens activities within its foundation areas of horticulture, education and research and conservation. Whether through the seemingly small act of a child planting and caring for a seed, or through the hosting of multi-day seminars for the nation's top ecologists and conservationists, the local and national communities were motivated to think creatively in order to better understand our environment through Denver Botanic Gardens' programs.
Our operations budget is what makes this beautiful oasis possible. From horticulture to research, education to art and exhibits, we pay for everything we do from a wide array of funding sources. The majority comes from admissions, membership, earned income and donations. These donations, your gifts, are vital to this equation.
Executive Director Statement
Denver Botanic Gardens CEO
Denver Botanic Gardens has enjoyed a rich, compelling and inspiring history. Imagine the opening of the Boettcher Conservatory. Picture yourself in the Japanese Garden as the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan dedicated that immortal space. What about the first time the waterways that snake through the Gardens were filled?
This gravity-fed marvel of architecture and engineering creates a connection and a distinction throughout the landscapes it traverses. So many moments in time and so many triumphs.
It's hard to imagine a year that would ever rival 2014. In terms of sheer scale and complexity, it looked virtually impossible and many peers thought it a bit, well, unrealistic. And yet, with shoulder to the wheel the board, staff and volunteers worked with countless contractors and partners to complete three major construction projects, host two international conferences and create an exhibition of Dale Chihuly's work that will surely go down as one of his greatest ever.
Visitation grew 55% from 2013, making Denver's the most visited public garden in North America. Membership grew 52%. The total number of volunteers neared 2,700. Media impressions soared into the billions. Yes, billions. At the same time, the level of horticulture hit an all-time high, Urban Food Initiatives expanded and new publishing projects were launched. It seemed everyone was willing and able to test our capacity for relevant impact. The result is deeper than you might expect.
At the same time, the level of horticulture hit an all-time high, Urban Food Initiatives expanded and new publishing projects were launched. It seemed everyone was willing and able to test our capacity for relevant impact. The result is deeper than you might expect.
Beyond all of the tangible benefits, a sense of competence and confidence throughout the entire organization. As one any institution is determined by in every way who are not only skilled and determined, but are also capable of fulfilling audacious dreams.