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 more 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.”