American Public Gardens Association Bestows

Honorary Life Member Award to Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Elizabeth Scholtz
by Leeann Lavin
July 6, 2008

At an awards ceremony at the American Public Gardens Association’s (APGA) Annual Conference, Elizabeth Scholtz, director emeritus of Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG), received the Association’s s most prestigious honor, the Honorary Life Member Award. Bestowed only 15 times in the Association’s 68-year history, the Honorary Life Member Award recognizes an individual who has provided meritorious service to the Association over a long period of time and has displayed an uncommon devotion to the field of public horticulture.

Dan Stark, executive director of APGA, explained “The Honorary Life Member Award is not given out annually, but rather it is awarded only when the Association deems a recipient’s career merits extraordinary recognition. Besides working tirelessly for the Association, the honoree is expected to have held leadership positions that further the missions of public gardens. Elizabeth Scholtz is an inspiring role model for us all and has demonstrated uncommon leadership and vision.”

Scholtz joins a very exclusive membership—past Honorary Life Members include landscape architect Beatrix Farrand in 1958, and BBG’s Judith D. Zuk in 2004.

“During a botanic garden career that has spanned nearly fifty years, Elizabeth Scholtz has been a peerless ambassador and advocate for gardens and garden education throughout the world,” said Scot Medbury, president of Brooklyn Botanic Garden. “The world of public gardens has benefited greatly from her role as mentor to several generations of North American public-garden professionals.” Medbury added, “Her unfailingly positive outlook on life, keen interest in people, and especially in young people, combined with her overall love for gardens inspires everyone she meets.”

Born in South Africa, Scholtz received a B.S. degree in botany and zoology at the University of Witwatersrand. After a distinguished career in medical research in South Africa, she joined the staff of Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 1960, serving as head of the Adult Education department, as director of the Garden, and as its first Vice President.

During her tenure as the Garden’s director, from 1972 to 1980, Scholtz was responsible for administering three other properties totaling more than 650 acres in addition to the 52-acre botanic garden in Brooklyn. Since 1966, she has led 100 tour groups for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, visiting 46 countries in the process.

Scholtz served on the APGA Board in the late 1970’s, at a critical period in the Association’s growth. She has served on committees at Old Westbury Gardens, Longwood Gardens, Morris Arboretum, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Atlanta Botanical Garden. Today, she serves on the board of the Horticultural Society of New York, and on the Screening Committee of the Garden Conservancy.

In 1981 Scholtz received Swarthmore College’s distinguished Scott Medal for having “devoted her career to inspiring people’s interests in horticulture -- from the smallest child to fellow professionals.” In 1984 she received the Liberty Hyde Bailey Medal from the American Horticultural Society. Other awards include: the Gold Veitch Memorial Medal of the Royal Horticultural Society (1990); the Garden Club of America’s Medal of Honor (1990); the Hutchinson Medal of the Chicago Horticultural Society (1991); and the Gold Medal of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (1994). On April 6, 2008, Scholtz was presented with Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Forsythia Award, given to an individual for outstanding contributions to Brooklyn’s prosperity.

Founded in 1910, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) is an independent nonprofit institution committed to education, research, and the display of horticulture. BBG serves communities in New York City and internationally through its world-class gardens, extensive research collections, and numerous educational and community programs. Situated on 52 acres in the heart of Brooklyn, the Garden is home to over 10,000 types of plants and hosts more than 700,000 visitors annually. Brooklyn Botanic Garden was rated Brooklyn’s number one tourist attraction in Zagat’s recently released 2008 Best of Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays. The Garden is closed on Mondays; open holiday Mondays, except Labor Day. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for senior citizens (65 and older) and students with ID. Children under 12, all school groups, and Garden members are admitted free at all times. Seniors are admitted free all day Friday, and the Garden is free to the public all day on Tuesdays and until noon on Saturdays (except Saturdays of major Public Programs such as Sakura Matsuri). Visitor entrances are at Flatbush Avenue, at the parking lot gate at 900 Washington Avenue, and at Eastern Parkway. By subway, take the 2 or 3 train to Eastern Parkway or the B (weekdays) or Q train to Prospect Park, the 4 train to Franklin Avenue, or the Franklin shuttle to Botanic Garden. By bus, use the B16, B41, B43, B45, B48, or B71. Parking is available at 900 Washington Avenue for a fee. For more information call 718-623-7200. Additional information is also offered online at

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