Keep it from becoming the Broke-tanic Garden

Botanic garden, photo by AMRosario

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, photo by AMRosario

Bah to those fat cats in Albany, they of the not-allowing-wine-in-grocery-stores infamy, they of the no-go on gay marriage. And now, they could be hacking away at our access to real cats with huge proposed cuts to the budgets that pay for living museums such as zoos, aquariums and botanic gardens.

Gov. David Paterson has proposed a near 50 percent cut in funding in response to the budget crunch (somebody hasn’t been reading their Brokelyn…).  It would affect the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Prospect Park Zoo and about 80 other aquariums or or other destinations that feature living exhibits across the city and state. The Botanic Garden sent out the following plea and call to action, and their director of government affairs is in Albany right now lobbying to save the funding:

The State Executive Budget has included an almost 50 percent cut to the Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums (ZBGA) program, the only dedicated funding to “living museums” across the state. Brooklyn Botanic Garden will be severely and immediately impacted unless we act now.

Living collections require constant intensive care, especially in times of economic hardship—or, as I like to say, “You can’t put the begonias in the basement.” Public education and environmental interpretation are core missions of the living museums funded by New York State. While living museums offer sanctuary, employ thousands of people, and help preserve endangered species, we are most proud to educate and inspire thousands of teachers and millions of childrenliterally growing new generations of conservation stewards. It is not a stretch to say that living museums are the state’s heartbeat of ecological literacy, inspiring the public to care about New York’s natural resources.

While everyone must do their part to cut back during the severe economic recession facing New York State, this particular cut is disproportionate to proposed reductions in other state agencies and services. It is simply too severe.

Send a message to elected officials before March 12, 2010. Our colleagues at the Wildlife Conservation Society have set up a simple and convenient way for you to contact your representatives in the Governor’s Office and State Legislature. Please let your elected representatives know that this support is critical to our institutions! It’s simple to do; it takes just 30 seconds and will make a difference. Please encourage friends and family who are residents of New York State to do the same by forwarding this email or sending them to

Has there been a better rallying cry than “You can’t put begonias/penguins/sharks in the basement”?

One Comment

  • Thanks for posting this. We need to let Albany know that the BBG is an important historical landmark in Brooklyn and needs to be properly funded and maintained. It has a special place in my heart as well – my husband and I were married @ BBG