annual report 2010

PHOTO: Sophia SiskelSophia Siskel, President and CEO

In 2010, the Chicago Botanic Garden completed the first year of a new ten-year strategic plan, “Keep Growing.” The plan, presented on the Garden’s website, lays out a vision and set of values that focus on serving the needs of the Garden’s diverse audiences and on deepening our commitment to preserve plants and the healthy habitats on which they depend.

The Garden is indeed growing and flourishing. Throughout 2010, as a result of your investment, we already began to see positive results, as measured by a variety of record-setting accomplishments:

The Garden is growing so more people from around the world can learn from and be inspired by 385 acres of exquisite display gardens, four rare natural areas, and more than 61 acres of lakes and waterways.
In 2010, the Garden welcomed more than 900,000 visitors, exceeding by 2 percent the previous attendance record (of 23 percent year-over-year attendance growth, set in 2009), and further establishing the Garden as a leading Chicago, and national, attraction.

The Garden is growing so more children can experience the power of nature and receive essential science education.
In 2010, more than 25,000 children in school groups, 2,300 in camp and Scout programs, and another 80,000 in family groups participated in Garden programs designed to strengthen their connection to nature and nurture their curiosity about science. For students from preK to Ph.D., the Garden’s Science Career Continuum provides science education critical to our future as a nation and species.

The Garden is growing so more families enjoy greater access to fresh vegetables and the nutritional benefits, as well as employment opportunities, they provide.
In 2010, Green Youth Farm and Windy City Harvest program participants, along with community partners, harvested more than 25,000 pounds of produce that was sold at markets or donated to food pantries in low-income neighborhoods in Cook and Lake counties. These programs are growing with new partners to create more jobs in urban agriculture.

The Garden is growing so more college graduates with science degrees can gain valuable work experience, further their career, and help protect America’s natural resources.
In 2010, a record 138 interns in our Conservation and Land Management Internship Program, funded by the Bureau of Land Management, benefitted from paid internships in 13 western states.
In 2010, a record 31 graduate students were enrolled in the Garden’s master’s and doctoral programs in Plant Biology and Conservation delivered in partnership with Northwestern University. Taught by the Garden’s plant biologists in the laboratories of the Garden’s Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center, the program uniquely trains students to address the conservation challenges of our time.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is growing its impact—in these ways and many more. Please visit strategicplan.chicagobotanic.org to monitor our progress. In addition to providing measures of success, this website offers testimonials from those we serve. These personal stories demonstrate the Garden’s relevance, and, when reviewed together with our measurable achievements, demonstrate that we employ your investment thoughtfully. I am grateful for the generosity you have shown; your engagement allows the Garden to continue its journey along the path from great to legendary.

On behalf of the Chicago Botanic Garden,

Sophia Siskel