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October President's Circle Letter

Dear President’s Circle Member:

I know that the words “social media” strike fear and loathing in many of you, and am aware that e-mail is still not universally used among Garden donors. But please indulge me as I explain how embracing these new methods of communication can enhance your ability to further the mission of the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Let me explain how I got here....recently, several Garden friends and members of the Garden’s board have asked me what articles I read that help inform my leadership of the Garden. What are the pressing and newsworthy topics in international plant conservation or other botanic gardens? One board member wondered if I could send out articles that I think are important for everyone to read. Social media presents us with a perfect and efficient solution.

I understand that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., can feel daunting. I have tried them all, and find (at least for now) that of all of these avenues for communication, Twitter provides me with the latest news the fastest. It also allows me to learn about what is happening in the small niches of conservation and presents news that is not typically covered in mainstream (and local) press. Twitter also provides me with the opportunity to share articles and photographs that feature or are relevant to the Chicago Botanic Garden and its mission. I share an article every few days.

I encourage you to join Twitter and follow me @sophiasiskel, as well as follow the Chicago Botanic Garden (@chicagobotanic). That way you can find out what is going on in the Garden, what is happening in the conservation community at large—and what my colleagues and I find important. You can also see the institutions and individuals I am following, which represent an interesting and varied group of federal agencies and NGOs dedicated to nature and wildlife preservation.

Should you need any help setting up an account, or finding me or the Garden on Twitter, please let me know. Bring in your computer and we can help you set it up…or ask a teenager who needs some spending money!

I also encourage you to subscribe to the Chicago Botanic Garden’s blog at This provides you with great information about all of the Garden’s programs in a timely and engaging way. This week’s posting details how our horticulturists constructed the intricate and beautiful pansy pyramids in the Heritage Garden.

I know embracing these new methods of news-sharing can be hard (and often, when you engage in irrelevant ones, a waste of time), but I promise…if you want to know what’s going on at the Garden and how best you can get involved in our work, the time you spend setting up a Twitter account or subscribing to our blog is worth it. When you participate in the social-media platforms we use to deliver our message, you strengthen your support of our mission to cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life.

See you on the Internet!

Best regards,
Sophia Shaw
President and CEO