About Us

Grass and floral background

A Future of Possibilities

The joy and wonder cultivated by public gardens and the protection of biodiversity must include human connection and a sense of belonging.

The IDEA Center for Public Gardens™ (the Center) was launched January 2022 as a partnership between Denver Botanic Gardens and the American Public Gardens Association, with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS MG-249862-OMS-21), to empower public gardens to prioritize and champion diversity and inclusion initiatives within our industries and beyond.

Public gardens and cultural institutions have the opportunity to serve our communities in more exciting and meaningful ways than ever before. Together we can expand the identity of who we are and who we serve, but most importantly, how we connect with each other.

Our core belief is that living and working from the principles of IDEA can be an incredibly enriching and uplifting experience, a journey to be celebrated. We do this by offering programs to build fluency and advance wisdom, alliances and partnerships to create collaborative unity, and opportunities to create connections to share stories and strengthen our community.

We invite you to join us on this journey toward creating a better, more just world that celebrates and values the ecology of human diversity, as much as we celebrate and depend on it in nature.

There is much more to come. Onward together.

Meet Our Advisory Council

(From top left to right)

Clint Carroll, Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies, University of Colorado Boulder

Noemí Hernandez Castro, Cactus Specialist, Desert Botanical Garden

Mary Lee Chin, MS, RDN, Food and Nutrition Communications Consultant, Nutrition Edge Communications

Benjamin Futa (he/him/his), CEO, The Botany Shop

Patrick Larkin, Nonprofit/Business Consultant, PSL Consultants & CSR

Abra Lee, Founder of Conquer the Soil

Rie Macchiarolo (they/them), Board President, Ecological Landscape Alliance

MaryLynn Mack, Chief Operating Officer, South Coast Botanic Garden; Board of Directors, American Public Gardens Association

Liz Myska, Legal Counselor and Consultant, Visions Consulting L3C; New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill Board of Trustee

Tariana Navas, Director, Cultural Affairs, Denver Arts & Venues (City & County of Denver)

Becky Paxton, Account Executive, Garden Media Group

Tracey Qiu, Doctoral Candidate at Concordia University

Colah B Tawkin, Host and Founder of Black in the Garden LLC; podcast and Founder of Underground Arborist 501(c)3

Brian Vogt, Chief Executive Officer, Denver Botanic Gardens; Past Board President, American Public Gardens Association