American Public Gardens Association (APGA) Recognizes Queens Botanical Garden for Excellence in Sustainable Community Development

American Public Gardens Association (APGA) Recognizes Queens Botanical Garden for Excellence in Sustainable Community Development
December 27, 2021 Joshua Feinberg

American Public Gardens Association (APGA) Recognizes Queens Botanical Garden for Excellence in Sustainable Community Development

badge to demonstrate sustainable community development

In recognition of Queens Botanical Garden’s sustainability efforts, the American Public Gardens Association has awarded the Garden with a badge of excellence in the Sustainable Community Development Attribute of the Public Gardens Sustainability Index.

The Public Gardens Sustainability Index is a suite of Attributes intended to inspire gardens to advance their own garden sustainability programs and operations to further the mission of their institution while connecting to local, national, and global sustainability efforts. The Index shares examples of how gardens are contributing to best practices in Sustainability.

Queens Botanical Garden’s efforts to foster sustainable choices and nurture our environment and community are exemplified by our engaging community outreach and environmental education programs. Read below to learn more about these programs and the many contributions the Garden has been making toward sustainable community development!

Young adult interns outdoors in children's garden smiling at cameraCorps Interns and the Summer Youth Employment Program

Work-program partners with the city employ youth age 16-24 in an internship that allows them to experience working at a public garden in the fields of horticulture, urban farming, environmental education, and nonprofit administration. Corps programs include City Cleanup Corps, AmeriCorps, Environmental Corp, and City University of NY (CUNY) Culture and Service Corps. The Garden has been a host site for these programs for many years and continues to engage new ones as they become available.

Two young outside helping gardener on groundsIntern Programs for Hearing Impaired & Other Persons with Disabilities 

At Queens Botanical Garden, the Intern Program is designed to welcome inclusion group partners to give job readiness skills and engaging projects to individuals with disabilities.

Reaching all corners of the Garden, a dozen community organizations including Lexington School for the Deaf and Services for the Underserved join our teams. Through growing plants and growing interns, we win for the community and for the Garden!

Two people working on ground, weeding likelyVolunteer Program

QBG has a volunteer base of approximately 350 long term participants and 2,000 event support participants. There are many ways to get involved- get fresh air and your hands dirty with our knowledgeable Horticulture staff; assist visitors and children explore nature with Education and Public Programs; gain valuable technical skills in Maintenance; learn to turn Compost or tend to our Urban Farm; or share your Administrative and creative skills with our friendly staff.

Children wearing masks exploring wormsBotanical Education

The Garden is the primary source of botanical education for children and adults in Queens with educational programs for seniors, adults, and children including classes, tours, and workshops. In the 2018-2019 season, QBG’s Environmental Education Workshops served nearly 35,000 schoolchildren. These workshops are highly effective settings for lessons in biodiversity, conservation, ecology, and environmental stewardship, and are now also offered virtually. In addition, QBG’s Professional Development Program trains several hundred teachers each year, with new virtual options added in 2020 as well.

Farm intern holding plants in the farmSustainable Agriculture

The QBG Farm site works to serve, educate, and train the community through various outlets. Through participating in internship programs and community volunteer days, the community learns sustainable farming methods and directly contributes to growing food for the community.

Volunteers of all age and abilities have joined in and very often they become regulars who come every single week. Specific volunteers aid in community engagement because farm staff also learn from different experience levels and practices that volunteers bring.

The QBG Farm donated over 4,500 lbs of food to local organizations to help combat food insecurity through the height of the pandemic in Queens, NY.

Compost intern turning food scraps inside a waste bin, smiling at cameraNYC Compost Project hosted by Queens Botanical Garden

The NYC Compost Project (NYCCP) hosted by Queens Botanical Garden helps to reduce waste in NYC and rebuild city soils by giving New Yorkers the knowledge, skills, and opportunities they need to produce and use compost locally. The NYC Compost Project programs are carried out by staff funded by the New York City Council and managed by Department of Sanitation’s Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability.

The NYC Compost Project offers compost-related educational opportunities, technical composting support, distribute compost, and processes food waste generated in Queens, NY. We also support communities to open neighborhood-based public food scrap drop off sites, ensuring food scraps are composted locally. We also host a Master Composter Certificate program, an advanced composting course that trains a select group of New Yorkers every year to support, develop, and maintain community-based compost projects.

Visit our public APGA profile to learn more about the Garden’s sustainability work!