News & Events - Press Releases

1. Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Press Contact: Aliza Bran
(202) 414-0798;

Web Site:

Left to right: Chidi Duke, Scot Medbury, Mrs. Obama.

Left to right: Chidi Duke, Scot Medbury, Mrs. Obama. Click image for a larger view.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) was founded in 1910 as a truly urban botanic garden with a strong commitment to community and youth education, hands-on learning, and being accessible and welcoming to diverse urban communities. Its mission is to connect people to the world of plants, fostering delight and curiosity while inspiring an appreciation and sense of stewardship of the environment. One hundred years ago, BBG launched the first-ever children’s garden within a public botanic garden, where generations of city children have learned to plant, tend, and harvest their own garden plots. Thousands of participants have grown vegetables, herbs, and flowers, whilelearning about plant science, sustainability, and healthy eating and gaining invaluable skills in teamwork, leadership, and resourcefulness. BBG also proudly participates in the Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens Initiative.

One such Children’s Garden participant is Chidi Duke, who was introduced to Brooklyn Botanic Garden at the age of 11 through Project Green Reach, a science enrichment program led by BBG in his Brooklyn elementary school. His teacher recommended him for the Children’s Garden program, where Chidi became captivated with the plant world. His role in the Children’s Garden grew progressively, and eventually he became a leader and mentor to younger participants. He enrolled in the Brooklyn Academy of Science and Environment (BASE), the public high school co-founded by Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Prospect Park Alliance with the Department of Education, and is now a student of environmental law at The City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He continues to be a part of BBG as an instructor with the Garden Apprentice Program for teens. Chidi will travel to Washington and share the impact Brooklyn Botanic Garden and its educational programs have had on his life during the May 8 celebration. Watch video of Chidi's story on YouTube. Read transcript (PDF, 51KB)

“Brooklyn Botanic Garden is tremendously honored to receive the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from IMLS,” said Scot Medbury, president of Brooklyn Botanic Garden. “Winning the medal this year is especially meaningful as BBG celebrates the centennial of its pioneering Children’s Garden.”

Praise for Brooklyn Botanic Garden:

"Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a welcome oasis among the hustle and bustle of New York City and I’m thrilled to congratulate them on being awarded the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest honor in our nation for museums and libraries.  For decades, Brooklyn Botanic Garden has been a staple of environmental education and conservation in New York, and this honor is truly deserved." U. S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (NY)

“I congratulate Brooklyn Botanic Garden on this well-deserved recognition,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “It is a shining example of the Garden’s commitment to serving our communities and families. I am proud to support programs dedicated to improving education and providing young people with safe opportunities to grow and prosper.” U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)

“I applaud the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for being one of only ten institutions across the country to be a recipient of the prestigious 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service for their outstanding service to the community,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8). “ A pillar of the Brooklyn community, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a haven for invaluable educational, social and civic engagement.  For over a century, the Garden has vastly impacted the lives and environment of New Yorkers, especially those in the neighborhoods I represent.  It is an integral component to the cultural fabric that defines Brooklyn and the great City of New York.  I congratulate the leaders of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for their dedication and tireless efforts to improve the surrounding community.” – U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY)


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