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Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
by Jennifer O. Rominiecki
November 28, 2017

Dear Friends of Selby Gardens:

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday and time with your friends and families. I took some time these last few days to reflect on all we have to be grateful for at Selby Gardens. I especially want to note my appreciation of everyone who helps care for our garden and create the sanctuary and science that Selby Gardens provides to so many.

This past weekend we marked the end of a very successful Orchid Show. In fact, this was the fourth consecutive, record-breaking exhibition since we launched our new "Living Museum" operating model less than two years ago. Earned revenue (made up of admissions, membership, retail, events and food sales) once again astounded us with a 27% gain over the previous year.

Thanks to the support of these beautiful, horticultural and artistic shows, Selby Gardens is able to make a greater impact and grow an appreciation for the natural world. Here are the five things I kept coming back to when reflecting on all we have to be thankful for:

1. Education. Partnerships with our schools, businesses and philanthropic entities have expanded our work with schoolchildren. From the restoration of our dock to welcome eco-tours to an increase in field trips and programs for families, we were able to help many more young minds learn about the importance of plants this year.

2. Expertise. Our scientific researchers are known worldwide for their work. This year we have attended the World Orchid Conference in Guayaquil, Ecuador; traveled throughout Brazil and Belize, as well as Florida in support of plant conservation; and published the latest issue of our scientific journal, Selbyana.

3. Expansion. We have the opportunity to fully realize Marie Selby’s wish for a botanical garden that is an oasis of green in the middle of downtown Sarasota with a new Master Site Plan. These improvements move our scientific collection out of flood zones and into secure structures using the latest technology, plus increase our green space by 50%. We are proud that this plan upholds our past and also ensures Selby Gardens’ future.

4. Events & Exhibitions. A garden is always changing, and right now we are preparing for our holiday festivities with Lights in Bloom and a New Year’s Eve celebration. Plans are also underway for the February opening of the upcoming exhibition Warhol: Flowers in the Factory. Prepare to be amazed!

5. Empathy. Support from our members, volunteers and friends was key to cleaning up after Hurricane Irma. With rakes in gloved hands, we were able to rebound and reopen with limited damage. Continued support with year-end gifts helps us continue to recover. Thank you again for being a friend of Selby Gardens. I look forward to seeing you in the Gardens in the days and months to come. Best wishes for the holiday season.

photo courtesy Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

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