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November President's Circle Letter

Dear President’s Circle Member,

This past September the princess of Thailand, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, visited the Chicago Botanic Garden. The princess wanted to experience not only the Garden’s beauty but to learn about our plant conservation science and education programs. I enjoyed meeting Her Royal Highness and answering her thoughtful questions; in turn, she described her role in advocating for healthy livestock and sustainably grown crops.

The more we welcome to the Garden international visitors interested in our plant-based initiatives, the more we can help each other work toward achieving goals that benefit all of humanity. I am proud that the Garden’s research, education, and jobs-training programs continue to gain recognition around the world and inspire other countries to act. In 2012 we hosted the President of Bulgaria, the First Lady of Turkey, and two consul generals of Japan. We have also recently welcomed to the Garden officials from China, Korea, and Belgium.

While it has been my pleasure to host these global guests of the Chicago Botanic Garden, I recognize as well the importance of bringing the Garden’s message to people and institutions who have not been able—so far—to visit us in person. Last month I traveled to Dunedin, New Zealand, to attend the 5th Global Botanic Gardens Conference (the subject of my latest blog post). There, I spent time with hundreds of delegates from around the world who had gathered to discuss ways to strengthen our horticulture displays and plant collections, education and visitor programs, and plant conservation science. We learned much from each other.

Sometimes these international visitors and colleagues are surprised by the magnitude of what we accomplish here. My goal is to eliminate any element of surprise—to have the Garden’s reputation as an international leader in plant-based science, education, and jobs training recognized by all before they arrive on our campus, or before I meet them abroad. I think that day will come soon. In part because of your loyal support as a President’s Circle member, the Garden has become synonymous with plant-based solutions to some of the most significant environmental challenges of our time. If you haven’t yet visited our strategic plan website, I encourage you to spend some time there learning about our goals, and discovering how we plan to keep growing.

Thank you, for everything you do for the Chicago Botanic Garden. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Sophia Shaw
President and CEO