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Brooklyn Botanic Garden Announces CEO Transition

Scot Medbury to Assume Directorship of Quarryhill Botanical Garden

Medbury’s move coincides with completion of major capital campaign and the most significant series of site refinements since the garden’s establishment.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden announced today that Scot Medbury, president and chief executive officer of BBG 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 BBG’s sixth leader since 1910, Medbury has provided vision and strategic leadership throughout the garden’s highly successful $124 million capital campaign, which has added new gardens and refined visitor facilities and programs. Medbury will remain at BBG 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 BBG by its historic commitment to education and community.

“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,” said Medbury.

Eagle Photo by Rebecca White
Scot Medbury

When Medbury arrived at BBG 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, which 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.

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.

Diane Steinberg, chair of BBG’s Board of Trustees, said, “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.”

“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 said.

Medbury became president of BBG 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, 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 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 bbg.org.

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