New York Botanical Garden

Location: 200th St. & Kazimiroff Blvd., Bronx The New York Botanical Garden is one of the world‘s great collections of plants, the region‘s leading educational center about gardening and horticulture, and an international center for plant research. The Garden is a museum of plants alive with discovery, from the landmark Enid A. Haupt Conservatory offering an ecotour of the world under glass, to the innovative Everett Children‘s Adventure Garden where children explore nature and plant science, to 48 magnificent gardens and plant collections on a 250-acre historic site. The Garden is in the midst of a multi-million-dollar program of capital construction and improvements to enhance visitor attractions, expand the botanical research programs and horticultural displays, and achieve long- term financial stability. NEW IN 2005 A major project underway is the Pfizer Plant Research Laboratory. This two-story, 23,000-square-foot facility will provide much-needed space for the expanding Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Program for Molecular Systematics Studies and the Plant Genomics Consortium. The Plant Research Laboratory will provide office, laboratory, conference, and storage space that allows for maximum flexibility to keep pace with and adapt to an evolving array of experimental and analytical techniques and new information technologies. The Pfizer Laboratory is scheduled for completion in 2005. HISTORY The New York Botanical Garden was founded in 1891. Its history begins with the development of the site by the Lorillard family in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Though the Lorillard interest in this land was fundamentally economic, the family valued the area‘s natural beauty. For their day, the Lorillards were remarkable stewards of the land, and the unique brand of stewardship practiced in the gardens today owes a direct debt to the Lorillard heritage. In 1891 an eminent Columbia University botanist, Nathaniel Lord Britton, and his wife, Elizabeth, also a botanist, were so inspired by their visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, near London, that they determined New York should possess a great botanical garden. A magnificent site was selected in the northern section of the Bronx, part of which had belonged to the vast estate of tobacco merchant Pierre Lorillard. The land was set aside by the State Legislature for the creation of a public botanic garden of the highest class for the City of New York. Prominent civic leaders and financiers, including Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and J. Pierpont Morgan, agreed to match the City‘s commitment to finance the buildings and improvements, initiating a public-private partnership that continues today. In 1896 The New York Botanical Garden appointed Nathaniel Lord Britton its first director. GROUNDS AND GARDENS A National Historic Landmark, the 250-acre grounds of The New York Botanical Garden include dramatic rock outcroppings, wetlands, ponds, a cascading waterfall, and a 50-acre tract of the original forest that once covered New York City. Among the horticultural attractions are 48 gardens and plant collections, including the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, the Rock Garden, and the Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden, as well as outstanding collections of daylilies, orchids, hardy ferns, cherry and other flowering trees, and conifers. CONSERVATORY The Garden is home to the nation‘s largest Victorian glasshouse, the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, which opened to the public in 1902 and was named a New York City Landmark in 1973. The Conservatory re-opened in May 1997 following a four-year restoration and the construction of A World of Plants, a permanent exhibition that includes tropical rain forests; desert galleries; and the Palms of the Americas Gallery, the world’s most comprehensive collection of palm trees under glass. Other notable historic buildings on the Garden grounds include the Snuff Mill, a New York City landmark (1840), the Library Building (1901), and Stone Cottage (1840). SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH A world leader in botanical research, the Garden‘s International Plant Science Center combines today‘s cutting-edge technologies with its hundred years of traditional scientific research to document and preserve the plant biodiversity of the Earth. The Garden‘s scientific research program, begun in 1891, is one of the most intensive and distinguished in the world. The International Plant Science Center‘s scientific staff of 170 researchers, technicians, and assistants includes more than 60 Ph.D. scientists and candidates. State-of-the-art technologies include the powerful techniques of molecular biology at The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Program for Molecular Systematics Studies. The Plant Genomics Consortium, a unique collaboration among the Garden, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, and New York University, examines plants at the genetic level. With nearly seven million plant specimens, The William and Lynda Steere Herbarium is the largest in the Western Hemisphere. One of the most active and most comprehensive herbaria in the world, the Steere Herbarium makes up the foundation of the Garden‘s botanical research program and is widely recognized as a research resource of international importance. The Steere Herbarium‘s online system, the Virtual Herbarium, catalogs herbarium specimens in an electronic database, captures a digital image, and combines these data into a user-friendly Web page. The collected data are used by conservationists, policymakers, ecologists, and private industry worldwide to locate endangered plants, manage land, promote sustainability of plant resources, and determine new sources of foods, fuels, medicines, and fibers. The LuEsther T. Mertz Library is one is the world‘s great plant science libraries. Assembled over the past century to support research and study in the fields of botanical science, horticulture, and garden design, it now boasts more than 800,000 print and non-print items and nearly a mile of archival material, making it one of the most comprehensive libraries in this field in the Western Hemisphere. The New York Botanical Garden Press, the largest science press of any botanical garden, ensures the dissemination of research results to the scientific community and to the public through publication of journals, monographs, and books. The Graduate Studies Program is the Garden‘s answer to the challenge of the second biodiversity crisis—the shortage of scientists trained to handle the need for more biodiversity data. Originally a formal link with a single university, the program is currently the largest program of its kind in any botanical garden in the world, training more than 40 Ph.D. candidates in partnership with five universities: City University of New York, Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, and Yale University. EDUCATION The New York Botanical Garden is committed to educating the public about the beauty, science, and importance of plants, offering one of the nation‘s largest Continuing Education programs in gardening and plant studies. Each year thousands of adults participate in more than 800 offerings, ranging from courses in landscape design and commercial flower arranging to master classes in garden photography and design. The Garden offers a wide range of classes and activities for children from toddlers to teenagers. A variety of free programs, from nature crafts and hands-on gardening activities to audio ecotours, are offered to children and families. Two gardens especially for children, the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, offer ongoing drop-in activities and special programs. In addition, tens of thousands of schoolchildren visit each year to tour The New York Botanical Garden and participate in classes about plant science. Bronx Green-Up helps neighborhood residents turn vacant lots into beautiful vegetable and flower gardens. Through this initiative, which provides horticultural advice, training, and technical assistance, the Garden has reached more than 300 community gardens in the Bronx. The School of Professional Horticulture offers a two-year training program in professional gardening and horticulture. Teacher Enhancement Programs at the Garden provide workshops and seminars for teachers and administrators interested in learning how to use plants and the natural environment to excite and motivate students to learn about science.