On November 17, Executive Director Fred Spicer celebrated his tenth year with The Gardens. Below, Fred reflects on that time in our most recent edition of The Garden Dirt.
As the saying goes, “I wasn’t born in the South, but I got here as fast as I could.” Later this month I will mark 10 years as Executive Director of your Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Far from being a farewell address, I’d like to tell you why I’ve found the last decade so rewarding and why I look forward to many more years in the Magic City.
Change is Good: Since 2001 we’ve re-branded our organization: revamped our print and web publications, effectively branched out into social media, increased our professional staff threefold, increased education program participation by 254%, added 3,800 items to the Botanical Gardens Library’s collection and achieved goals set in two strategic plans (we adopted a third one last month).
A Garden is Never Finished: Since 2001, we’ve completed a new education and sustainability focused site-wide master plan (and a renovation plan for the Conservatory and Japanese Gardens), dedicated four new gardens (with another under construction), renovated 10 existing gardens (with plans for three more on the board), rebuilt 24 garden structures, conserved 90% of our outdoor art and sculpture (while adding seven new pieces) and added more than 7,000 new woody plants to the living collections.
You Are Beautiful: Since 2001, I have become smitten with the natural beauty in Birmingham and the rich biodiversity throughout Alabama. But it is the inner beauty of our supporters that has won my heart. Without the collective commitment of our passionate and generous donors, members, volunteers and partners, none of the this would have been possible. We are many things to many people – it’s part of our nature. And we have a long way to go to fully realize our potential. The citizens of Birmingham and our visitors deserve that.
It’s been my pleasure and privilege to build on The Gardens’ solid past and, with your help, contribute to its future. Here’s to ten more years (at least)!
See you in The Gardens,