Selby Gardens receives $600,000 state appropriation to house
its world-class scientific collections in hurricane-resilient facilities
SARASOTA, FL – July 2, 2020 – The state of Florida has included $600,000 in its new budget to support Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ efforts to house its world-class scientific collections in facilities that will protect them from hurricanes and major storms. The appropriation came in a year when Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed more than $1 billion worth of projects in the wake of the state’s economic crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Selby Gardens maintains the best scientifically-documented collections of orchids and bromeliads in the world, along with other plant collections, electronic databases, rare books, scientific journals, and digital images and video from 45 years of research by some of the world’s leading botanists.
The collections are currently housed in older, former residential buildings on the Selby Gardens Downtown Sarasota campus that aren’t built to current hurricane standards. The appropriation will be of tremendous help as Selby Gardens looks to move the collections into modern, hurricane-resilient facilities as part of the master plan it has submitted to the City of Sarasota for approval.
“We could not have secured this appropriation without the phenomenal leadership of Senator Joe Gruters, as well as the support of our state legislators,” said Jennifer Rominiecki, President and CEO of Selby Gardens. “We are also thankful for the support of Governor DeSantis, who recognizes the value Selby Gardens’ vision for the future will bring to Sarasota and the entire state of Florida.”
Selby Gardens enriches the lives of Sarasota residents and visitors in a number of ways, including state-of-the-art research, engaging exhibitions tied to the work of renowned artists, and educational programs for people of all ages.
Selby Gardens is making sustainability a major component of its compromise master plan, even beyond its plans to move more than 125,000 specialized collections of tropical flora to a new hurricane-resilient herbarium. Leading by example, Selby Gardens plans to become the first “net-positive” botanical garden complex in the world, with solar panels on its Living Energy Access Facility (LEAF) building designed to power the entire downtown Sarasota campus.
“The new campus, made possible through our compromise master plan, will protect our collections, give our botanists and researchers a first-class place to work, and make Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus resilient,” Rominiecki said. “We are very excited about the future of Selby Gardens, and this appropriation will play a major role in helping us achieve our goals.”
About Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens provides 45 acres of bayfront sanctuaries connecting people with air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history. Established by forward thinking women of their time, Selby Gardens is composed of the 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus and the 30-acre Historic Spanish Point campus in the Osprey area of Sarasota County, Florida. The Downtown Campus on Sarasota Bay is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants. There is a significant focus on botany, horticulture, education, historical preservation, and the environment. The Historic Spanish Point (HSP) Campus is located less than 10 miles south along Little Sarasota Bay. The HSP Campus, one of the largest preserves showcasing native Florida plants that is interpreted for and open to the public, celebrates an archaeological record that encompasses approximately 5,000 years of Florida history. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a Smithsonian Affiliate and is also accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. For more information visit www.selby.org.