Program areas at Queens Botanical Garden Society
Grounds care and security - responsible for the upkeep and security of this 39-acre public Garden and living museum, comprising 18 acres of formal gardens and 21 acres of arboretum. Maintains more than 20 ornamental and educational gardens including: an herb Garden, woodland Garden, rose Garden, wedding Garden, other perennial gardens and seasonal displays. Environmental strategies are in practice throughout the facility: water permeable pavers are in place throughout the Garden; bioswales absorb excess rain water, helping to ease the burden on nyc's sewer system; geothermal wells heat and cool the leed platinum certified visitor & administration building; native plantings, including the green roof, feed local fauna and migratory birds. Composting toilets and gray water system result in using 82% less water, photovoltaic panels harness the sun's energy just as plants do. All features mentioned support the Garden's commitment to sustainability.
Visitor services & public programs - promotes a positive visitor experience and welcomed nearly 162,000 visitors in fy21 in spite of the covid-19 pandemic. Qbg served 162,575 people which includes 25,440 reached through our outreach efforts. The visitor & administration building houses a variety of amenities including the gift shop, qbg gallery, facility rentals and qbg membership hospitality. Public programs staff coordinate nearly 50 public programs and events for visitors in a typical year; public programs highlight the changes in nature throughout the seasons, plant collections throughout the Garden, bees and honey, cultural significance of plants, visual arts, performing arts and green / sustainable living. Seasonal events, art exhibitions, and special cultural festivals are celebrations that promote community involvement and reflect the diversity of Queens and nyc. Throughout the year, visitor services provides meaningful volunteer experiences for hundreds of high school students and college interns; summer youth interns support the Garden with work in horticulture and administration.
Education - provides programs, workshops and special events that advance a dual mission of sustainability and cultural expression. In fy21 - a partial pandemic year - qbg educators worked with over 9,600 school children and 2,562 teachers through onsite environmental education workshops, tours and teacher training programs. Qbg also continued its virtual programs in fy21. Education programs focus on steam learning (science, technology, engineering, art, math) to teach urban children about plants, ecosystems, trees, and bees. Qbg is home to one of the largest composting education sites in the city, and focuses on outreach to various neighborhoods in Queens. Qbg also hosts several nature-based programs for early childhood through middle school-aged youth throughout the year, ranging from one-time classes to multi-week sessions during out-of-school times.
Outreach and volunteer:outreach - communicates with 2,600 direct mail recipients (including nearly 1,200 members), over 21,500 email recipients, over 33,350 social media followers, and 239,613 visitors to the website per year. Offer at least two annual press conferences a year that invite and inform the media of news and programs at the Garden. Off-site meetings to visit elected officials and community networking and planning meetings also keep the public apprised of what happens at the Garden. Onsite materials, including banners and printed materials, inform visitors who come to the Garden annually. Volunteer - engages and encourages local residents to make a difference in their community by volunteering at qbg. Led by our knowledgeable staff, volunteers participate in a variety of activities from seeding to weeding, or supporting our education, maintenance and administration departments while gaining new experience and skills. We welcome individuals, community organizations, corporations, as well as high school and college interns. In fy21, the Garden attracted 1,477 event and group volunteers and 238 long term volunteers whose work totaled 16,215 volunteer hours! Our horticulture volunteers learned gardening basics while working hands-on with our plants. Public program event volunteers helped to set up, run and support the many activities happening throughout the day and ensuring the events were a success for everyone in our community. While our Garden works to create a meaningful customer service experience for our visitors, the volunteer department works to create a meaningful employment experience to our long term volunteers and interns.
Planning/capital projects - provides oversight of new capital projects and proposes improvement of the existing infrastructure of the facilities which includes the award-winning "green" visitor & administration building (2007) and the environmentally sustainable parking Garden (2010). In fy16, we completed the re-paving of pathways in the Garden and upgraded about half of the exterior sidewalks. In fy17 we added the second stepped ramp along the college point boulevard bridge. In fy18 we completed an upgrade to the geothermal heating & cooling system and added a building management system to tie in the various systems including heating & cooling, lighting, grey water, and irrigation to bring greater efficiency. Early in fy19 we engaged in various site improvements including transferring water needs for the parking Garden from city potable water to a well which was installed as part of the pathways project noted above. We also upgraded the drive court near the v&a building with pavers as well as upgraded an electrical box dating from the 1964/65 world's fair and 15 light poles in the arboretum. In fall 2018/early fy19 we started landscape renovations within the gardens on parade section, including re-doing what has been known as the backyard gardens exhibit. That project was completed in fy19; the space was renamed the unity Garden. A new education center project, including an education building and surrounding landscapes, will break ground in early 2023 and more than double our capacity to provide environmental education programs to our community. The building is slated to open to the public in 2025. We will also soon begin construction on a pavilion, which will enable us to provide additional public programs.