Bring science back to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden!

Nice, but where's the science?

Nice, but where’s the science?

The Botanic Garden is nice to look at, but does anyone really think it should be relegated to the status of Brooklyn’s trophy wife? The thing about plants is that they have so much knowledge to share with us, so we should take advantage while they’re here, right? The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Board of Trustees didn’t think so, considering they eliminated the Garden’s last science and research positions last month. Now one Brooklyn resident has taken to the internet with a petition demanding they bring back the science.

Petitioner Chris Kreussling points out in the petition, part of the Botanic Garden’s mission is “Engaging in research in plant sciences to expand human knowledge of plants, and disseminating the results to science professionals and the general public.” The Garden, according the petition, has been a major source of scientific research for both local and far off species of flora and its data is used by government and private organizations for research into climate change, the impact of invasive species on local environments and more. Which sounds hard to do with the elimination of all of the Garden’s science positions.

Kreussling is unmoved by the trustees’ promises that this is a temporary setback to the science program, pointing to a string of decisions they’ve made since 2005 deemphasizing the scientific mission of the garden in favor of tourist-friendly attractions and financial support being given to any departments but ones dealing in science. Here at Brokelyn, we’re a friend of science given the many wonderful things it does for us. So count us as people who support more of it being done in our backyard.

2 Comment

  • It’s important to remember that the Garden is on public land, so we have a more than abstract interest in its management, or, as it seems in this case, mismanagement. That’s one of the reasons I signed the petition.

  • I’m a member of the BBG and teach adult education classes at the garden.

    I signed the petition. So did members of the BBG’s staff. The ones who still have jobs.

    Science may be harder to fund than flashy new entrances, but its impact is profound. And science is perfectly sexy. With the right mind set, the right marketing attitude and most importantly, the will – science, the libraries (closed), plant records (no more), the herbarium (gone), as well as Greenbridge leadership (oops) can all be funded.

    More creative leadership is necessary, leadership that uses its considerable talent at spin to put the focus on substance versus fluff.

    The science department lacked $750K. It was closed.

    But the new entrance needed $28 million. It was built.

    This is a failure of leadership. It is also a gross failure of accountability.