Keep Growing 2020: The Ten-Year Strategic Plan
Chicago Botanic Garden

Annual Report


Susan A. Willetts

Susan A. Willetts
Chairman of the Board

When I became chairman of the Chicago Horticultural Society in June 2009, I followed in the footsteps of visionary leaders whose investments of time and resources had enabled a degraded marshland to grow into a renowned public garden on land owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Then, as now, I embraced the opportunity to ensure our beloved Garden’s future is as successful as its past was remarkable.

Sophia Siskel

Sophia Siskel
President & CEO

In 2010, the Chicago Botanic Garden completed the first year of a new ten-year strategic plan, “Keep Growing.” The plan, presented on the Garden’s website, lays out a vision and set of values that focus on serving the needs of the Garden’s diverse audiences and on deepening our commitment to preserve plants and the healthy habitats on which they depend.

The Garden is indeed growing and flourishing. Throughout 2010, as a result of your investment, we already began to see positive results, as measured by a variety of record-setting accomplishments:

Attendance and Membership

2010 Attendance:
The highest in Garden history.

2010 Membership:
member households
Approximately 73% of members renew their membership each year.

Urban Agriculture

In 2010, Green Youth Farm and Windy City Harvest program participants, along with community partners, harvested more than
25,000 lbs
of produce that was sold at farmers' markets or donated to food pantries in low-income neighborhoods in Cook and Lake Counties.

Science Programs

The Conservation Land Management Intern Program trained and placed
138 young biologists
in internships across the country. These internships involve work in botany or wildlife-related fields, including seed collection and monitoring threatened and endangered species and habitats in 12 western states.

Education Programs

We welcomed more than: 25,000 students
from Chicago Public Schools, Greater Cook County, and surrounding area-students, scout troops, summer campers, and family groups.