Brooklyn Botanic Garden Announces CEO Transition

Scot Medbury Will Assume Directorship of Quarryhill Botanical Garden
by BBG
June 17, 2019

Brooklyn Botanic Garden announced today that Scot Medbury, president and chief executive officer of Brooklyn Botanic Garden since 2005, will be leaving to assume the directorship of Quarryhill Botanical Garden in Sonoma County, California. He will begin there in February 2020. As Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s sixth leader since 1910, Medbury has provided vision and strategic leadership throughout the Garden’s highly successful $124M capital campaign, which has added new gardens and refined visitor facilities and programs. Medbury will remain at Brooklyn Botanic Garden through January 2020.

With a distinguished record of over 40 years in public gardens, Medbury is a widely acknowledged leader in the horticultural world. Medbury was attracted to Brooklyn Botanic Garden by its historic commitment to education and community. Says Medbury: “Brooklyn Botanic Garden was the first of its kind—a botanic garden founded to put education on par with horticultural display in a thriving urban environment. In the largest and most populous borough of the most densely populated city in the country, Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a model urban garden, committed to educating environmental stewards as much as it is to engaging in the art and science of horticulture.”

When Medbury arrived at Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 2005, the Garden’s Board of Trustees had completed a master site plan for the Garden and were committed to its implementation. Under his leadership, the Garden embarked on design and fundraising phases leading to a series of capital projects comprising the most significant garden renewal effort since BBG’s founding decades and have helped ensure a revitalized Garden for the 21st century. Projects have included a new award-winning Visitor Center designed by architects Weiss/Manfredi; a major revitalization of the southern third of the Garden including the expanded and redesigned Discovery Garden for families and the new Shelby White and Leon Levy Water Garden, both designed by landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates; an extension in size and scope of the historic Native Flora Garden designed in partnership with landscape architect Darrel Morrison; and a major water conservation project that is a model for botanic gardens and parks around the world, among many other projects.

During Medbury’s tenure, Garden attendance grew from 625,000 to a peak of nearly 1 million visitors per year. Today, over 250,000 children visit the Garden for free every year, connecting with plants both in formal educational settings and through the Garden’s many interactive spaces for hands-on-learning. As many as 70,000 people participate in BBG’s expanded community greening programs, creating a growing cadre of urban greening champions. In 2014, BBG won the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the country’s highest honor bestowed on museums and libraries, recognizing outstanding service to the community.

Remarks Diane Steinberg, chair of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Board of Trustees: “Scot’s leadership and vision for Brooklyn Botanic Garden has created a stronger world-class institution, with a focus on sustainability and accessibility. His horticultural background and deep interest in design have played a vital role in creating new gardens and programs at the Garden while strengthening our focus on community. Scot has been a phenomenal leader here for the past 14 years and has worked to help thousands of New York City residents and visitors forge a deeper connection to nature and raise awareness of our shared roles as environmental stewards. We wish him tremendous success at Quarryhill Botanical Garden as we begin an exciting search for top talent to succeed him here at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.”

Says Medbury: “It has been a privilege and an honor to work alongside the outstanding trustees, staff, and volunteers of Brooklyn Botanic Garden during a period of remarkable growth and change. The projects we have accomplished—new gardens, welcoming entrances, accessibility features, and programs for the community—represent the most dramatic series of changes to this historic garden in the last century, making the Garden more relevant, resilient and welcoming to visitors for years to come.”

Medbury became president of Brooklyn Botanic Garden after leading the San Francisco Botanical Garden and Conservatory of Flowers; he has also held appointments at gardens in Washington, Hawai’i, Great Britain, and New Zealand. Medbury is affiliated with several professional associations, including the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), where he is a past trustee. He currently serves on the governing councils of Botanic Gardens Conservation International–U.S., the Center for Plant Conservation, and the International Dendrology Society, and is an advisor to five American public gardens. Medbury received the professional citation from the APGA in 2004, and he was elected an honorary member of the Garden Club of America the following year. In 2006, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the American Alliance of Museums, Medbury was one of 100 people named to the Alliance’s Centennial Honor Roll.

About Brooklyn Botanic Garden Founded in 1910, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) is an urban botanic garden that connects people to the world of plants, fostering delight and curiosity while inspiring an appreciation and sense of stewardship of the environment. Situated on 52 acres in the heart of Brooklyn, the Garden is home to nearly 15,000 types of plants and hosts approximately 850,000 visitors annually. Learn more at

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row