New York Botanical Garden Receives White House Recognition

The New York Botanical Garden received national recognition at the White House from the First Lady.

Michelle Obama presented executives from the New York Botanical Garden with the 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. It was one of five museums and five libraries honored in a ceremony at the White House on Friday December 17.

he Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support of all of the nation’s libraries and museums. They award the National Medal, which is the highest honor for museums and libraries, to institutions for outstanding social, environmental or economic contributions to their surrounding communities.

You’re here today because you all share the same commitment to excellence, the same determination to serve your communities and the same spirit of innovation,” said Obama. “The New York Botanical Garden started the Bronx Green-Up program, and they helped plant hundreds of school and community gardens in struggling neighborhoods so that families could grow their own produce.”

ince the Bronx Green-Up began 22 years ago, it has created more than 300 community and school gardens throughout the borough of the Bronx. Gregory Long, president of the NYBG, and Carrie Laney, vice president for Government and Community Relations at the NYBG, were on hand at the White House to accept the award from the First Lady.

Each award recipient was asked to select one member of their communities who could illustrate the institution’s impact through a personal story. The NYBG executives selected Karen Washington, a board member of the NYBG and community activist who contributed her help to the NYBG to turn empty lots into beautiful gardens with the Bronx Green-Up program.

The NYBG welcomes over 750,000 visitors every year. The Garden views its mission, in part, as using plants to battle hunger, obesity and declining science learning trends with programs tailored specifically to meet the needs of the Bronx communities. According to Long, theaward is a dedication to the staff members who strongly carry out the Garden’s mission.

“We are extremely honored to have The New York Botanical Garden’ achievements recognized by the Institute of Museum and Library Services,” said Long. “The award is a tribute to our dedicated staff members who continue to pursue the Garden’s mission in horticulture, science, education and community service.”

Thousands of trees, plants, herbs, vegetables and fruits are grown on 250 acres of space preserved and cultivated by the NYBG. The Garden uses its expertise and facilities to sponsor programs and events that focus on the importance of environmental conservation, science education, healthy living, and also strengthening the communities.

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