VisionCleveland Botanical Garden inspires an enduring connection between plants and people so that vibrant green communities will flourish and sustain life.
MissionTo spark a passion for plants and cultivate an understanding of their vital relationship to people and the environment.
From Planning to Doing
Any gardener will tell you that planning is much of what it takes to make a great garden. The dedicated staff and board of Cleveland Botanical Garden are so used to planning for our future successes that, occasionally, we need to pinch ourselves when our work comes to fruition and we reap the benefits of our well-laid plans.
Indeed, 2012 was such a year as the Garden’s Vision for Our Vibrant Future sprouted from an exciting plan on paper to form meaningful, tangible results. As the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse entered its 10th year as an iconic emblem of the Garden’s emergence as a year-round visitor destination, the Garden once again made great strides asserting its relevance to the greater community and its commitment to resonant guest experiences.
Record Attendance, Record Membership
By the numbers, the Garden had its most successful year ever in 2012. We closed out December 31 having attracted a record 160,000 guests and having attained a record 7,200 members. These numbers are one quantitative measurement of the Garden’s return on its mission to “spark a passion for plants.”
People join membership-based organizations for different reasons, but one of the most common is alignment with personal values. The Garden’s commitment to providing inspiration and renewal in uniquely beautiful surroundings, to making a difference in our community and to sustainable practices and beliefs are some such values these 7,200 members share with the Garden.
Bringing New Life to 1966 Wing
Being agile enough to accommodate the many different needs of our members and guests is key to the Garden’s Vision for Our Vibrant Future. And so, after serving us well for nearly half a century, the Garden’s 1966 Wing received a $1.1 million renovation in 2012. The new wing now boasts a much-needed gathering hall with magnificent views and access to the outdoor gardens; an easily accessible space for the Garden’s impressive rare book collection; and a contemporary home for its library.
The spacious new Woodland Hall and renovated Eleanor Squire Library opened in November 2012 to rave reviews and considerable use by Garden guests and members.
New Ways of Engaging
Defining and developing a powerful new brand is yet another major component of the Garden’s Vision for Our Vibrant Future. The new brand helps the Garden grow attendance and membership by connecting with gardeners, parents and young people alike and appealing to what matters to them.
By fall, the new brand came to life. The Garden launched a new website that changes with the seasons and makes it easy for visitors to find information, buy tickets and purchase memberships. Its visitation is up 34%, and revenue generated from it is up 110%.
Members also began to receive a boldly redesigned magazine, now called The Garden Muse, in keeping with the ancient Greek muses’ job of providing inspiration. New life and new passion were breathed into brochures, signs, menus — and even the way staff and volunteers engage our treasured guests.
Glow: Making Your Holidays Bright
From the cries of delight coming from young riders aboard the Garden Express train to real cries of “I don’t want to go home,” our all-new holiday event, Glow, set a new standard of excellence and enjoyment for the Garden. Picture-taking, gingerbread house-making kids of all ages felt the magic and warmth of the season as never before.
The first in the Garden’s new portfolio of seasonal celebrations designed to boost earned income through attendance and membership sales, Glow welcomed 38,000 guests (a 28 percent increase over the previous record-setting WinterShow in 2011). Glow was a media sensation that secured the event in the firmament of Cleveland holiday season tradition.
Outdoor Enhancements Envisioned for GardensImagine the already beautiful Katherine Philipp Geis Terrace made even more stunning with dancing fountains, large shade trees and dozens of colorful new plantings. Picture a beautiful wedding ceremony in the “Classical Garden,” where a hillside of softly colored blooms and lush landscape greet guests. These are just a few of the enhancements being planned for the Garden in coming years. Landscape architects from The Portico Group in Seattle have been working closely with Garden staff to draw up schematics that would bring new life to the Terrace, Sunken Garden and Hosta Hill. Also envisioned is a new field house near Hershey Children’s Garden, to include an indoor gathering space, culinary terrace, restrooms and much-needed work space for the horticulture staff. These enhancements will become reality through generous donations from Garden supporters.
The Garden is the Place to Make Memories with New Seasonal CelebrationsDelighted kids running through a giant hedge maze and skipping across an oversized chess board signaled the arrival of “Big Spring” at the Garden. The five-week event, which debuted in March and April 2013, was the second in what will become a year-round collection of seasonal celebrations at the Garden. The first seasonal spectacular, Glow, returns for its second year in November with an even bigger and more memorable holiday experience that’s sure to become a favorite wintertime tradition. Plans are to introduce a third seasonal celebration in fall 2015 in hopes of attracting even more people to the Garden and providing our members with even more reasons to return again and again.
Green Corps Continues Growing Youth, Growing Food, Growing ClevelandThe Garden’s signature outreach program, Green Corps, will continue to enrich the lives of Cleveland teens while also helping our city and the people living in its neighborhoods. In 2013, Green Corps marks its 18th season of urban farming with expanded efforts to engage local residents in the local-food and healthy-eating movements. Hundreds of teens have benefited from the work-study approach of Green Corps, and hundreds more will in future years thanks to contributions from many thoughtful supporters.
Seeking Support to Establish an Indoor Children’s GardenLittle hands can be found making mudpies or planting seedlings on any given day during the warmer months in the whimsical world that is Hershey Children’s Garden. A similarly enchanting and enriching escape that could be open all year long is being developed especially for the Garden’s youngest members. The indoor children’s garden could bring a tree house, root maze, rope bridge and more interactive elements to a behind-the-scenes section of the Glasshouse. The Garden is seeking donors who are interested in establishing this one-of-a-kind discovery center for children.
Growing YouthFrom its earliest days, Cleveland Botanical Garden has connected with children of all ages, teaching them about the importance of plants and gardening in their lives as early as the 1930s. Back then, students learned about horticulture and agriculture by caring for their schoolyard gardens. Today, children and teens engage with the Garden through field trips, in-home daycare programs, in-school classes and the six learning farms that are part of the Green Corps urban-agriculture program for high-school students in Cleveland. The Garden’s mission of sparking a passion for plants is achieved in large part through its connection with our community’s youth.
Field Experiences at the GardenOn a recent spring morning, 20 kindergarteners from Ms. Theresa Golnick’s class at Cleveland’s Case Elementary School explored the lush tropical plants and marveled at the rainforest wildlife living in the Costa Rican biome of the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse. During their field experience at the Garden, the children also met some of the Garden’s educators, who taught them about plants and their importance. These youngsters were among the nearly 10,000 from throughout Northeast Ohio who toured the Garden in 2012 as part of our school program. Many of the visits to the Garden are made possible thanks to generous contributions from our affiliate garden clubs, to the Garden’s school-transportation fund. It’s an amazingly successful way to connect our youngest guests with our message about the vital relationship between plants and people.
Teacher TrainingGiven limited resources, how could the Garden maximize the number of Cleveland-area kids it inspires and educates? By reaching them through their teachers. The Garden’s educators have trained hundreds of elementary-school teachers from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District in how best to develop their lessons about science and plants. By connecting with 100 teachers, the Garden can reach more than 3,000 students through them. “Everything the teachers learn at the Garden can then be shared with their students both in the classroom and during their field trips to the Garden throughout the school year,” says Renata Brown, the Garden’s vice president of education.
Green Corps Learning FarmsAs part of the Garden’s Green Corps, Vidorian Massingale, a student at Cleveland’s Jane Addams High School, has learned the basics of farming in an urban setting. She also has developed invaluable business know-how and people skills that will help her as she prepares for future studies and a career. She’s one of hundreds of Cleveland teens who’ve benefited from Green Corps, which started in 1996. As the Garden’s signature outreach program, Green Corps prides itself on growing youth, growing food and growing Cleveland. Fruits and veggies grown by our Green Corps students are a favorite of many, including Dr. Michael Roizen, the “You Doc” and chief wellness officer for The Cleveland Clinic. Students in Green Corps earn and learn at one of five learning farms throughout the city. They do planting and harvesting, as well as selling the fruits of their labor at local farmers markets.
Cleveland School-Garden PartnershipThe Garden has a vision to bring its connection with Cleveland kids full circle in the coming years. Garden President Natalie Ronayne and her staff have developed plans for The Cleveland School-Garden Partnership, which would bring productive gardens back to local schools so students can learn in a living classroom. The concept is inspired by the schoolyard gardens that were so popular in the Garden’s earliest days, and it will be developed in partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The Garden will leverage its successful Green Corps program and engage its professional educators in working with teachers to create and care for the gardens and incorporate them into the curriculum.
Greening Our Community
As an urban public garden, Cleveland Botanical Garden holds dear its responsibility to make Northeast Ohio greener and more vibrant so that our community will flourish and sustain life.
The Garden’s dedicated team fulfills this important responsibility on its own grounds in University Circle, throughout Greater Cleveland and beyond.
Ohio’s First Sustainable Site
For implementing best green practices and adding eco-friendly new features in its gardens and building, the Garden in 2012 earned certification as the first Sustainable Site in Ohio and one of just three nationwide to receive three-star recognition. The special designation from the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) comes after two years of work to meet the highest green standards. Highlights include a new living roof, low-mow lawns, rain garden and native-plant garden along East Boulevard. Now, Garden guests can see green practices they can integrate into their own backyards, and local companies can look to the Garden for help implementing sustainable practices into their operations.
Vacant to Vibrant: Restoring Urban Land
The Garden’s team of researchers is at the forefront in finding the best ways to revitalize urban areas by transforming vacant, blighted land into vibrant, productive green space. In 2012, the Garden collaborated with experts in Cleveland and eight other Great Lakes cities to study the social, economic and environmental benefits of reclaiming vacant lots and replacing them with green infrastructure, providing ecological services in urban neighborhoods. In 2013 and beyond, the Garden will lead an effort to establish a neighborhood-based network of green-infrastructure projects in Cleveland, Buffalo, NY and Gary, IN, to experimentally understand the function of green infrastructure. The work — being done in partnership with nine organizations — is funded by a $902,000 grant from the Great Lakes Protection Fund. Additional vacant-land restoration research is being done by the Garden thanks to support from the US EPA Urban Waters Small Grants program.
Enriching Our Neighborhoods
With staff and teenage students managing five Green Corps learning farms in five different neighborhoods, the Garden can easily connect with Cleveland residents in an effort to make their communities healthier, greener and more vibrant. One example is the the Buckeye Learning Farm, located at East 114th Street and Woodland Avenue, where the Garden’s team planted a fruit-tree orchard for neighbors to enjoy. Neighbors also have participated in Green Corps workshops that teach them how to garden, compost and eat healthier with local-food options. By offering fresh, homegrown fruits and vegetables to neighbors of the learning farms, Green Corps teens bring a healthy, eco-friendly option to areas where locally sourced food is tough to come by for many people.
ABOUT Cleveland Botanical Garden
Cleveland Botanical Garden is an ever-changing urban escape where you find enrichment and inspiration through fabulous gardens, an exotic Glasshouse and enchanting events. We make our community greener and healthier by growing young lives and restoring land throughout the city. The Garden is located at 11030 East Boulevard in Cleveland’s University Circle cultural district. For more information, call 216-721-1600 or visit cbgarden.org.
Cleveland Botanical Garden’s 2012-2013 Report to the Community
Associate Director of Communications
Epstein Design Partners
Dear Garden Friends,
From quiet moments of reflection to delightful laughs of little ones splashing in the fountain, Cleveland Botanical Garden offers all of us a place to feel alive and part of something bigger than ourselves.
Restorative walks in the Woodland Garden. Celebratory toasts on the Geis Terrace. Delightful squeals in the Hershey Children’s Garden. These are just some of the wonderful things that make Cleveland Botanical Garden our Garden. In this 2012-2013 Report to the Community, we seek to answer the question, “What Makes it YOUR Garden?”
We love the answers we’ve received, and we share some of them in this online report that also highlights the Garden’s record-breaking accomplishments of the prior year and exciting plans for the Garden’s vibrant future. This report recognizes and thanks the many individuals, foundations, corporations and others whose giving keeps the Garden thriving.
The Garden’s ability to achieve its mission of sparking a passion for plants is thanks to generous support from you — our guests, members, donors, staff and volunteers. To help us keep your Garden going and growing, please consider making a contribution to our Annual Fund by clicking on one of the “donate” buttons on this site.
We hope to see you soon at the Garden!
Jeffrey M. Biggar