Susan Lacerte began her tenure as Executive Director of Queens Botanical Garden in 1994. After 27 years of service, Susan will retire at the end of September 2021.
Susan’s indelible leadership has continuously improved this urban oasis. Here are just a few of her major accomplishments during her nearly three decades at the Garden:
- Adopted the Garden’s vision to be “the place where people, plants, and cultures meet” in 1997
- Led the installation of the Perimeter Fence and Tree Sculpture Gate in 2002
- Set a new benchmark for sustainability with the opening of the Visitor & Administration Building, New York City’s first public building to achieve Platinum LEED certification, in 2007
- Fostered the NYC Compost Project at Queens Botanical Garden for over 25 years
- Developed new gardens in our 39-acre oasis such as the Kaltman Fragrance Walk, Circle Garden, Four Seasons Border, Sustainable Rose Garden, and Unity Garden
- Presented newly paved pathways in a $5.5 million project to welcome the next wave of visitors to the heart of Queens
- Launched the design development and capital campaign for the upcoming Education Center Building, slated to open in 2024, which will greatly enhance our environmental education efforts
- Ensured QBG became one of the first NYC cultural institutions to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic on July 21, 2020
A Message from Susan
On July 11, 1994, when I walked onto the grounds of Queens Botanical Garden as Executive Director, I did not imagine that I would be here for nearly three decades.
I feel blessed that I—a plant-loving girl from Connecticut whose color from birth was green! — landed at this oasis in the heart of one of our nation’s most diverse communities. From a young age, I loved stories about how people use plants and then here I was, in a living laboratory of people, plants and cultures!
I will be retiring in September and moving to Maine with my husband, to be nearer our twins, other family, and friends.
I have cherished my time in Queens, getting to know you, mingling at Member events, concerts, festivals, galas and more, sharing in the magic of this borough and its people, and in helping the Garden grow, and expand its presence in the City, and the world. From helping our cultural vision come alive through programs, plantings and exhibits to leading the way in a green wave that swept our nation with the creation of an award-winning Visitor & Administration Center which literally brought people from around the world to see practical examples of sustainable design, it has been a privilege and honor to serve as the leader of Queens Botanical Garden for the past 27 years.
I first worked at QBG in 1984, serving as an Intern and Children’s Garden Coordinator, for about eight months. As Director I have delighted in telling successive classes of interns that you just never know where life will take you—sometimes you end up back where you started!
Queens Botanical Garden is doing well. As an outdoor museum, we were among the first to re-open after Covid restrictions were eased. It is a joy to see how so many cherish this beautiful and tranquil open space, and value it for the healthfulness of being able to be outdoors and moving, or perhaps sitting on a bench. The Garden is once again bursting with activity—graduations, weddings, classes, farming, planting projects—and, of course, with flowers!
A search for the next Executive Director has begun. The position description is posted on our website.
Do know that I will continue to cheer the Queens Botanical Garden on. The next chapter includes creation of a new Education Center, which is nearly through design. So, stay tuned—there is much more to come!
QBG will forever be in my heart.