Denver Botanic Gardens

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.

Organizational Overview

Denver Botanic Gardens
1007 York St
Denver, CO 80206
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 2014, the Gardens added several exciting new features to our Gardens landscape. With the support of our community, Denver Botanic Gardens had two major construction projects come to fruition--the new Science Pyramid and Hive Garden Bistro. Additionally, the phenomenal glass sculptures of renowned American artist, Dale Chihuly, graced the Gardens helping to draw record crowds. More than one million visitors delighted in a visit to the Gardens in 2014.

Background Statement

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

If you haven't visited Denver Botanic Gardens for a while you are in for a treat!

In 2008 the Gardens' Board of Trustees launched a new Master Development Plan. Beyond ensuring long-term maintenance of infrastructure and facilities, we have added opportunities for visitors to connect with plants in ways that are relevant to their lives.

As of the end of 2014, the Gardens has completed 36 construction projects and reached $60.2 million out of an overall goal of approximately $86 million needed to complete the Master Development Plan. This new platform of facilities has launched programs and world class exhibits, including the artwork of Henry Moore in the Gardens, Apache artist Allan Houser, Japanese artist Tetsunori Kawana and American artist Dale Chihuly.

Now children from the entire region can visit the Mordecai Children's Garden. Since opening in August 2010, over 94,000 people have visited this garden. Children who have never had the chance to visit the mountains can experience plant life typically found only at higher elevations. Young people from low income families receive sponsored admission tickets and scholarships, funded by private donations.

The Gardens has also added research facilities, including a Tissue Culture Lab and a Conservation Genetics Lab. Each summer our research teams can be found, all across the Rocky Mountain West, cataloguing and preserving rare species.

The physical transformation throughout Denver Botanic Gardens helped increase attendance, membership and the popularity of seasonal events. Visitor attendance has climbed over the last several years from 632,736 in 2009 to over one million visitors in 2014. Memberships were up by 43% over 2009. By the end of 2014, we have more than 30,000 enthusiastic members.

The Board of Trustees remains vigilant ensuring that every dollar contributed has the strongest impact and that Denver Botanic Gardens is looking toward a future filled with dynamic programs and activities.

Dr. Jandel Allen Davis
Board of Trustees Chair

Impact Statement

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.

Needs Statement

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

Amid all the fanfare for Chihuly in our York Street Gardens this year, a permanent new feature to the landscape has arrived. Thanks to a community that is always generous in its support of Denver Botanic Gardens, the brand-new Science Pyramid is now open for all to experience and enjoy.

The Science Pyramid is an education center that showcases the Gardens' research activities and invites you to see the world of plants through a scientific lens. Visitors learn about our ongoing global engagement in research and collaborations, including plant exploration in Central Asia and Patagonia and climate change research with a focus on alpine and tropical plants.

The Science Pyramid features engaging technology - touchscreens, light, sound and video - that allows you to follow research and horticulture staff into the field, across the state and throughout the world. It is an interactive space that highlights the scientific work that is the foundation of the Gardens.

Chihuly introduced countless thousands of first-time visitors to the Gardens this year, and the Science Pyramid is a great resource for reaching them with our important message of citizen science, environmental literacy and stewardship.

Thank you for your thoughtful support of the Gardens.

Brian Vogt
Chief Executive Officer

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