Brian Vogt has received one of the highest honors bestowed by The Garden Club of America (GCA), the Cynthia Pratt Laughlin Medal. Presented at the GCA’s annual meeting this evening, the medal is awarded for outstanding achievement in environmental protection and the maintenance of the quality of life.
As CEO of Denver Botanic Gardens since 2007, Vogt has made a significant impact in his strides to grow not only the local Gardens, but to make public gardens accessible to all. “Brian’s mission to take our understanding of plants and open a world of wonder for anyone has had global influence,” said GCA President Anne Neal Petri.
Vogt is recognized for growing attendance at Denver Botanical Gardens to well over one million visitors a year, launching programs to focus on plant research, and address food in urban areas. Under his leadership, over $113 million has been raised and more than 60 construction projects have been completed including new greenhouses, a visitors’ center, parking structure, and the highly innovative Science Pyramid. Dedicated gardens for children and visitors with special needs have also been added and construction is underway for the new Freyer – Newman Center, a center for science, arts, and education.
Vogt has championed accessibility programs to connect a variety of Denver communities to the Gardens. He has developed programs to beautify disadvantaged neighborhoods and provide much needed food to underserved areas through the Gardens’ Urban Food Initiatives program. His goal of making gardens a place for all people is evident throughout Denver Botanic Gardens’ multiple campuses, which represent the five ecosystems of Colorado. He has also pioneered programs for sustainable landscaping in public spaces throughout the region.
Vogt’s vision extends beyond Denver, however, where he has shared his talent and energy leading the way for conservation and an improved quality of life. He brought together regional public garden leaders, from New Mexico to Wyoming, for collaborative problem solving and discussion of best-practices. Vogt’s efforts also extended to areas of the country that had been hit by natural disasters. When hurricanes devastated Florida and Louisiana, he sent Denver Botanic Garden staff to help rebuild, replant, and restore public gardens. Additionally, he initiated the Garden to Garden Disaster Response Center through the American Public Gardens Association, so that gardens destroyed by hurricanes, wildfires, and mudslides can be successfully rebuilt.
Globally, Vogt is widely recognized for his leadership ability and the work of his senior team who lead national and international research and programming. In 2012, Vogt led the charge to establish the Center for Global Initiatives, bringing horticultural and conservation research and relevance to Denver Botanic Gardens through diverse and sustainable programs that connect people with plants.
Previous recipients of the medal include Patrick F. Noonan (1984); Wendell E. Berry (2008); the U.S. Green Building Council (2009); and The Pollinator Partnership (2011).
Brian Vogt was nominated for the medal by the Garden Club of Denver, Colorado.