Mead Botanical Garden Connects People to Nature.
Mead Botanical Garden, Inc.’s Mission: To enrich the community through the discovery, enjoyment and celebration of nature.
Mead Botanical Garden is one of Winter Park’s most valuable community assets. The serene and unspoiled expanse is an anomaly amidst the thriving Central Florida metropolis. When Mead Botanical Garden first opened to the pubic in 1940, it showcased the horticultural collection – orchids, palms, amaryllis and caladiums - of the late Theodore L. Mead.
The excitement and promise of Mead Botanical Garden continues. The transformation of the Garden is happening under the direction of Mead Botanical Garden, Inc. Mead Garden today is a magnet for activity and exploration as well as solitude and serenity, drawing an estimated 47,500 visitors annually. It is a living botanical museum, a vibrant outdoor classroom, and an ecological learning lab. It’s widely popular summer camp served 350 children this past summer. Mead is a place for people of all ages to see plant collections, pollinators and otters at play. It is a special spot for memorable occasions, community gatherings and cultural events such as the annual holiday concert by the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra.
MBG Inc. collaborates with the City of Winter Park, horticultural and wildlife groups, environmental experts, dedicated volunteers, civic leaders, businesses and organizations.
MBG Inc.’s Trustees and Staff are united in their commitment to:
With continued planning, programming and investment, Mead Garden is uniquely positioned to enrich the quality of life of Winter Park residents in a way no other community asset can.
With the help of other not for profit organizations and the City of Winter Park, MBG accomplished the following goals in 2015:
Continue to create a place for learning, a refuge for wildlife; a botanical garden emphasizing nature, sustainability, environmental learning and nature appreciation. Together we assess the needs of the community, develop plans with community engagement and raise funds to achieve the vision.
Infrastructure: a) engage nationally respected master planner to design garden of 2025; b) move forward with interim facilities to provide good visitor experiences as we design for the future; c) beautify the entrance and approach to the garden and; d) design and install way-finding signage and visitor information; d) revitalize the Little Amphitheater and bride’s room building.
Membership: Implement a new membership program for the purpose of expanding institutional expertise and support, engaging a more diverse and extensive team of volunteers and raising funds for the garden.
Programming: a) Expand and promote MBG's environmental education programs; b) to be an academic partner for Rollins College as a location for labs, classes and internships, c) to develop partnerships with cultural organizations.
Wetlands and Horticultural Initiatives: a) complete Phase III of the Lake Lillian wetlands restoration and boardwalk improvement project; b) engage a horticulturalist to direct garden restoration and planting initiatives c) continue to plant new trees in the garden with emphasis in The Grove, Upland Pine and Historic Amphitheater areas.
Master Plan with 2030 vision: Contract with a nationally esteemed Botanical Garden Master Planner for the garden of our future based on the vision, mission and the decade of extensive research of the property, community, the MBG organization and its partners. Estimated need: $100,000 - $150,000
Staffing: Intentionally transition from volunteer to professional staff in critical areas: Development (membership and philanthropy), Program/Events management, Horticulture, Education, Administration, Conservation/science, and Facilities (planning, construction and maintenance) Estimated need: $75,000 this year and increasing each year as capacity grows.
Funding: Create a Development department with professional staff to coordinate volunteer efforts in membership, annual giving, capital campaign planning, planned giving and grants. Estimated need: $110,000
Business Planning: Verify and accept the 2015 consultant Rick Daley’s business plan. Implement interim strategies to be ready for ‘year one.’ Identify and expand earned revenue streams for on-going support of garden restoration, infrastructure improvements and program development. To be determined
Marketing and social media: Get expertise to leverage our new logo and branding package to promote the MBG organization and optimize our digital presence for maximum visitor and volunteer communication and experience. Estimated funding: $25,000
The Friends of Mead Garden (FMG) was founded in 2003 to bring back to life an important 47.5 acre green space in Winter Park, Florida. The Friends of Mead Garden launched a visioning session that resulted in the formation of a large and very active volunteer group which worked to clean the Garden, add features, raise funds, hold events and, generally, increase the interest in the Garden. We saw the need for a community-wide effort to engage all stakeholders in a visioning and planning process that would ultimately lead to a focused strategic plan.
The planning included two phases: First, a Friends-funded strategic planning effort by EMD Consulting Group of St. Louis from January through August, 2004. This effort included stakeholder interviews, a series of three focus groups to determine the interests of residents in the area, educators, volunteers, and those interested in gardening. Second phase was a community survey sent to 1,000 residents plus a day-long planning session,on August 9, 2004, with the board of Friends of Mead Garden, City staff from Parks and Recreation, and interested community leaders.
The resulting plan focused on the revitalization of Mead Garden and its role in the Winter Park community. In late 2004, three devastating hurricanes hit the garden hard with the loss of more than one-third of its tree canopy and most of its understory shrubbery. The storms were followed by accelerated invasive vine growth, and the need for revitalization became even more acute.
As a result of the Friends of Mead Garden's strategic planning effort, the City of Winter Park funded, and completed for City Commission acceptance, an initial Mead Botanical Garden Master Plan. We raised awareness of the Garden among City officials and leadership, brought people to the Garden through events and cleanup activities, began a re-greening program within the garden, initiated our first phase of capital improvements, and added a highly popular new environmental education program...the summer Nature Camp.
The Friends organization, now renamed Mead Botanical Garden, Inc., has accomplished a great deal since its founding yet so many opportunities remain. Two events in 2009 opened a floodgate of ideas: 1) The City agreed to move their maintenance operations from the barn in the heart of the property. 2) The Orange County Public Schools cut funding for the environmental education center that had served county 5th graders for over 30 years. These two events open the possibility for MBG and several partners to develop a first class botanical garden and nature center to serve all ages and populations. Building these partnerships, and designing and funding the center and ongoing restoration of the garden continue as challenges for the coming years.
Mead Botanical Garden is a truly unique green space. It's an urban oasis and a "wild place" tucked just a few blocks from a bustling transportation corridor as the southern boundary of Winter Park. It is known as a birder's paradise as well as the place to see camellias at their finest during the blooming season. Mead is a wonderful spot to escape for reflection, to wander along a creek's edge, to hike a boardwalk through a wetland area, to enjoy the beauty of both native and ornamental plantings or to discover the remnants of a 75 year old botanical garden.
Equally, Mead is a platform for learning. Given our environmental and horticultural programs combined with the Winter Park Garden Club's workshops and lectures, the Garden is a place to expand your interests, knowledge and skills. It is also a place to where people gather to celebrate and remember. The historic amphitheatre is the site for weddings, recitals and memorial services. The Grove is host to concerts and cultural performances.
Mead Botanical Garden Inc's Board of Trustees and staff are committed to ensuring this historic botanical garden thrives in a number of areas:
- as a place to escape and explore
- as a place to learn and laugh
- as a place where community is built and an opportunity for achievement exists
- as a place where a diverse range of people of all ages and abilities can experience nature and celebrate the great outdoors.
I am especially driven to ensure that young people have an opportunity to engage with nature, to fall in love with the environment and learn about sustainable initiatives.
Our goals are ambitious, inspiring and realistic! I invite you to join us in this exciting and impactful work.
Mead Botanical Garden is a free public garden in Winter Park, Florida, that attracts regular visitors from contiguous neighborhoods, the Central Florida region plus national and international visitors. Besides birders and garden lovers the garden also provides Young Naturalist Nature Camp experiences for children during the summer with expanding programs all year round, a community garden, a greenhouse with surrounding Legacy Garden consisting of varieties collected by T. L. Mead, many varied opportunities for volunteers to make meaningful differences and events such as the family-fun day called The Great Duck Derby.
Why we do what we do: Nature renews us, teaches us, and embraces us.
Our vision is to be a botanical oasis of learning, culture, and recreation, using gardens, wetlands, natural plantings, and support facilities. MBG will be both a public park where visitors can enjoy themselves in a natural environment, and a gated learning center for botanical and cultural purposes.
In the next five years, Mead Botanical Garden will be transformed through these projects:
• Ongoing careful restoration of the major garden ecosystems: Creek, Wetlands and Upland.
• New access and outdoor festival event center
• Upgraded Gathering Pavilion to support the Grove
• The TLMead Pavilion with classrooms, greenhouse, visitor center, exhibit space, bookstore, and cafe and offices
The TLMead Pavilion will be the Garden’s interpretative center with admission fee to help support the MBG teaching, research, and cultural activities.
Mead Botanical Garden is a true community effort, an ultimate community garden. It is programmed, designed, operated and largely funded by the citizens of Winter Park and the Central Florida region. Mead Botanical Garden, Inc. has the primary role of directing the efforts and bringing together a broad range of programmatic and funding partners to accomplish the goals.
Our content — program — comes from the knowledge organizations in the community: horticulture, environment, culture, and education. Individuals and groups provide the content and the talent to organize and mobilize programming, and input to determine the kind of infrastructure to support the programming.
Our Triple A board—ambassadors, advocates, and askers—develop financial support from the community to fund the necessary capacity in infrastructure, gardens and facilities, and manage funds to operate the facility.
Our Board of Trustees and staff links to a network of partners to help carry out this endeavor. The primary infrastructure partner is the City of Winter Park. MBG has a renewable lease with the city. As lessor they provide support in engineering, programming, scheduling, maintenance, insurance. As the lessee, MBG operates the garden, providing design, management, programming, and overall operations of the 47-acre property. In addition to the partnership with the city, we have Horticulture Partners—Native Plant, Wild Flower, Camellia; Educational Partners—Valencia, Orange County, Rollins, preschool and private schools; Cultural Partners—FSYO and a host of community partners including Bach Festival, Casa Feliz, Winter Park Playhouse, the Orange Audubon Society.
Indicators for progress:
Membership, foundation support and private financial support are three key indicators of our progress in fund raising. In each of these categories, our numbers have grown since our founding in 2004.
Another indicator is the number of visitors to the garden and program participants. As a free public garden, with four points of entry, it is impossible to track the actual number of visit. Program participation and attendance at events is growing. The 2015 Young Naturalist Summer Camp expanded to 7 weeks to accommodate more campers. It sold out a full month before camp began and a waiting list was maintained. The Spring and Fall Birdwalks and Backyard Biodiversity Day attracted larger crowds than prior years.
Quantitative Measures: Number of e-news readers, Facebook check-in and ‘likes,’ number of participants in programs, number of volunteers and hours given, number of students and youth counselors in summer camp, number of donors and amount given, income from rental venues. All have grown over the recent years.
Qualitative Measures: Profile and engagement of Trustees, partner organizations and gardens; Quality of programs and the impact on student success, Beauty of the Gardens.
Important milestone of recent past was the crafting of a lease agreement describing the dynamic partnership between the City and MBG, Inc. An upcoming Key Milestone that signals significant progress will be the development of a Master Plan built on the diligent study and research of the past 9 years -- a refinement of the Concept Master Plan of 2019. The business plan of the future Botanical Garden was developed at the end of 2015. That plan assumes that the Master Plan is developed and approved in the next year. Interim strategies are being developed to be ready the implement the plan in 3 to 5 years.
Developed aLong-range Financial Business Plan
Consulting with Nationally Renowned Garden Planner for Master Garden Plan Updates
Developed a Marketing Plan with strategies to generate more pubic awareness, visitation, community partners and rental income. Planned and implemented strategies funded by $19,000 grant from Winter Park Community Foundation awarded in Spring 2015 (notified of grant selection in fall 2014.)
Celebrated the Garden's 75th Anniversary. MBG hosted celebration honoring the garden's founders and long-time connection with Rollins College raised $40,000 (donations and celebration sponsorship). Over 50% of the funds raised were from new donors.
Invasive plant removed; continued spraying
Restoration of native plants in specific areas
Camellia Garden properly pruned and 400+ new donated camellias planted
Greenhouse restoration and surrounding collections of TL Mead plants
The Grove performance venue (FSYO partnership)
The Barn repurposed for summer camp and other programs
Partnerships with special interest (expert) groups
Lease agreement with the City
City Annual Support in budget
Summer Camp’s outstanding leadership and full enrollment
Executive Director and support staff skilled, wise and dedicated
Increased budget, sound fiscal procedures in place
Database management updated and sustainable
The leadership of MBG has learned that progress requires creativity and planning with the engagement of many resources in the community. MGB provides the glue and the medium for cooperation, collaborative design and commitment.
The Board of Mead Botanical Garden recognizes that children spend little time outdoors and even less time exploring a natural environment. Our programs are designed to educate and excite children about nature, establish in them a lasting love for the natural world so they will become informed citizens who help preserve and protect the earth and its creatures. The current Mead Young Naturalist Summer Camp program focuses on exposing children to the plants, wetlands and wildlife that co-exist in the garden. Our goal is to establish year-round programming.
Orange County Master Gardener Volunteers mentor participants in the Demonstration Community Garden and will be excellent role models to encourage volunteerism from other organizations throughout Orange County.
In our conscious effort to move from a Stage I to Stage II board, we began amending our governance systems in 2014. We continue to research best and appropriate practices through participation in the Rollins Philanthropy Center and attending professional conferences such as ANCA and American Public Garden’s Association. We have adapted and implemented organizational strategies as we are able to hire professional staff to take on the roles originally established and filled by volunteer board and community members.
We've also taken advantage of the Rollins consultation and from various experts in the non-profit governance field. We recognize that the garden's long term success depends on our getting the people relationships right.
Cynthia’s has over 25 years of experience managing organizations and leading large-scale projects and volunteer initiatives. Prior to joining MBG, she was with Rollins College where she served as Director of Management & Executive Education. Previously, she was a human resources manager at the Orlando Sentinel, responsible for training & development, employee relations & environmental health & safety.
Summary of Qualifications
· Fundraising, Special Events, Non Profit Management, Personnel Management, Budget Analysis, Volunteer Management, Database Management, Portfolio Management, Grant Management
· Establish relationships with area organizations to maintain professional involvement and integrity with community partners.
· Organize annual fundraiser with actual donations of $55,000+.
· Event planning including community outreach to secure high-level sponsors and participants, delegating volunteer responsibilities & securing appropriate venue/vendors.
· Managing community visibility in person and through social media/media outlets.
· Post-event evaluation to analyze anticipated v actual donations, community interest & media outreach to maximize anticipated fundraising goals.
Executive Office Management.
· Managed and directed up to 350 volunteers at special events. Organized volunteer events with United Way and Hands On Orlando. Currently, manage up to 15 volunteers daily.
· Periodic report processing including month-end reports etc.
· Established and maintain social media presence up-to-date to interest.
Girl Scouts of Citrus, Orlando, Florida
Director of Development, November 2014 to September 2015
Winter Park Day Nursery, Winter Park, Florida
Director of Administration/Volunteer Coordinator, 2009 to November 2014
Apex Marketing and Network Solutions, Orlando, Florida
Administrative Assistant, 2009 - 2010
Point 2 Inc, Orlando, Florida
Owner/Operator of AT&T Call Center, 2009
· Advanced in Microsoft Office, Social Media Marketing, Database Development, IT/Web Content, HTML, Application Development, Internet Information Server
· Customer Service and Relationship Management, Data Entry, Document Creation and Maintenance
· Confidentiality Assurance, Problem Solving, Project Coordination/Management, Medical Documentation
· Confidential Correspondence and Data
· Association of Fundraising Professionals – Board member
· Winter Park Executive Women – Committee Member
· Winter Park Chamber of Commerce
· Leadership Winter Park – Class 23 & Alumni Association
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
The FMG board operated conservatively in the beginning, raising charter member and member dollars since 2003, without significant disbursement until plans were ready for garden revitalization. Now after the successful master planning process, we have begun to utilize and expend funds for campaign readiness, education programs, garden improvements and membership development.
Central Florida Foundation 800 N Magnolia AvenueSuite 1200 Orlando, FL 32803 p. 407.872.3050 f. 407.425.2990