Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility for Public Gardens

A better, more equitable future requires unity in action now. The IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility) Center for Public Gardens™ is an initiative between Denver Botanic Gardens and the American Public Gardens Association, with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, to help public gardens elevate their role and relevance by becoming places for all.

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Welcome Message from the Director

What would make the journey joyful and uplifting?

“Approaching this work with an open heart; if more people could do that, it would be more joyful.” – Listening Session Participant

The way in which IDEA is positioned within their organizations (e.g. a mission-focused commitment or ethical imperative, rather than reactive or performative) affects how people approach and engage with the work.

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What are the top barriers and challenges we face?

“Lack of current staff time to do this work in addition to their existing roles.” – Survey Participant


“IDEA is not a priority from leadership, including the board.” – Survey Participant

Organizational culture at their organization—and/or a lack of commitment from leadership—was a notable challenge to IDEA-related work.


“Because we have very few people of color on our staff, I think it is harder to attract diverse candidates to fill positions.” – Survey Participant

Prevalent within Human Resources—namely, in recruiting and hiring diverse candidates. Some responses also included challenges related to retention and growth opportunities for existing staff.


“I would like to have a common language that all the staff understands. It has been difficult because staff felt divided by what DEI [Diversity, Equity, Inclusion] is.” – Survey Participant

Training and professional development, a network of peer support, and success stories were needed supports frequently identified by survey respondents.

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A Connected Community

“Having ready access to success stories in the garden world and having them available to share.” – Listening Session Participant

Having a network of support and vetted resources to help along the IDEA journey and celebrating together was a noted way to find joy in IDEA work. There is great comfort knowing you are not alone in this work.

We don’t grow alone