The American Public Gardens Association, with support from Denver Botanic Gardens (the Gardens) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), is launching an initiative to teach and inspire inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) initiatives among the Association’s public garden members.

The IDEA Center for Public Gardens™ (the Center) will fund speakers and trainers at conferences and symposia. It will also offer intensive peer-to-peer cohorts to develop next practices as all cultural institutions strive to be more inclusive and relevant. In 2022, the IDEA Center will develop a pilot cohort of gardens and will help to coordinate speakers and facilitators with the Association. By 2023, a full roster of programming will be offered.

The Center is incubated at Denver Botanic Gardens, which is providing operational funding. Services are supported by an IMLS grant (MG-249862-OMS-21) through 2024. The Association provides the essential link between public gardens and the Center, building upon the Association’s already significant resource materials and training opportunities. Mae Lin Plummer, a seasoned public garden and business leader, has been hired as the IDEA Center’s director. Plummer is also co-chair of the Association’s IDEA Committee and has well established links to public gardens across North America.

“We are living in an extraordinary time of increasing awareness, learning and change,” states Plummer. “We have the opportunity to create possibilities of serving our communities in exciting and meaningful ways we haven’t before. I am thrilled to collaborate with the Association to expand their efforts and commitment to promoting change, and ultimately, do our part to create a more equitable and just world.”

“Mae Lin is the right leader at the right time to amplify our commitment to our members and their IDEA priorities,” says Dr. Casey Sclar, executive director of the Association. “We are also thrilled to partner with IMLS and Denver Botanic Gardens to help the IDEA Center establish roots that allow it to thrive for all our future benefit.”

Brian Vogt, Denver Botanic Gardens CEO, says “We began our IDEA journey over a decade ago with clear intention: to create gardens and experiences for all people.” He adds, “The deeper our work, the more joyful it became. We know this isn’t a project with an end date. It’s something profound that changes a culture, outcomes, approaches and worldview.”

For more information, contact Mae Lin Plummer at

Read more about the Association’s IDEA policy statement here.