Michelle Obama to give Botanic Garden national award

Michelle Obama to give Botanic Garden national award
AP / Charles Dharapak

One of Brooklyn’s lushest oases is getting some national recognition with a government award presented by first lady Michelle Obama.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced on Thursday it will give the Brooklyn Botanic Garden a medal for its longtime commitment to working with neighbors and teaching people about plants.

“Its mission is to connect people to the world of plants, fostering delight and curiosity while inspiring an appreciation and sense of stewardship of the environment,” said a statement on the federal agency’s web site.

The agency, which provides grants to the museums and libraries, calls the medal the highest honor for the country’s civic temples. Obama will present the award at a ceremony at the White House on May 8.

In announcing the award, the Institute cited the Botanic Garden’s century-old children’s garden as a crucial educational tool.

“Generations of city children have learned to plant, tend, and harvest their own garden plots,” the statement says.

The Garden’s green thumbs are excited to take home the prize and stressed that education has always been a big part of their programming.

“Brooklyn Botanic Garden is tremendously honored to receive this distinction,” said Garden president Scot Medbury.

Nine other institutions got the nod this year.

The White House ceremony will be followed by a garden oral-history session run by the group StoryCorps, which will visit each winner to record anecdotes from their communities.

The award comes eight months after the garden suspended its science program over the objection of neighbors and botanists.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Placid. The Botanic Garden’s lily pond attracts gawking visitors all season long.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini