Botanic gardens honored by Southern Delaware Tourism

December 20, 2022

Delaware Botanic Gardens was honored by Southern Delaware Tourism as 2022 Best Attraction during a Dec. 14 ceremony, with Ray Sander, DBG president, and Sheryl Swed, DBG executive director, accepting the award.

“This award is a dream come true. When we broke ground on this public botanic garden in December 2016, we could only hope that our vision would achieve this level of excellence and recognition. In six short years of dedicated effort, key support of our elected representatives, the generosity of philanthropic foundations, individuals, local businesses and organizations, and the unbridled spirit of our volunteers, we have created one of America’s extraordinary public gardens here in Sussex County. Thank you for this recognition. We are honored and humbled,” said Sander.

“When I first visited the Piney Neck property in 2012 with Wendy Baker, executive director of the Sussex County Land Trust, we knew that it was the right place for the proposed Delaware Botanic Gardens. We are indebted to the SCLT, Heidi Gilmore, Pennoni Associates and Mark Davidson, the Longwood Foundation and Piet Oudolf for their farsightedness that DBG could make the vision of a public botanic garden in Sussex County a reality. With this award today, all the members of the DBG community, especially DBG volunteers, are recognized for their leadership, persistence and hard work,” said Swed.

This award is a capstone of a remarkable year for the gardens. In the last 12 months, DBG received a Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Award and was awarded the Best Restored Shore Project, along with the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, by the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association. DBG’s restroom facility was selected as one of the top 10 best public restrooms in 2022 by CINTAS. It also has also been nominated for a design award by the American Institute of Architects. For its 2020 annual report, DBG was awarded the Fundraisers and Communicators Excellence Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

DBG received a grant in the amount of $150,000 for horticultural and best stormwater practices projects by the State of Delaware, and $475,000 in the State 2023 Community Reinvestment Fund. DBG’s annual fundraising dinner netted $139,000.

New records for attendance, membership and educational programming were reached this year, and DBG volunteers donated more than 5,600 hours as garden stewards and docents.

The gardens will reopen Thursday, March 16, when more than 200,000 bulbs will be beginning to welcome spring.

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