Nov 20th, 2017

Message from Lewis Ginter’s Director

Let Us Tell You a Story…

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Staff will focus on telling more of the garden's stories.

The staff of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, with Executive Director Shane Tippett, center.

I live far from the Rocky Mountains of my youth. Still, the horizons in my dreams are sometimes stark, soaring and snow-capped. Upon waking, these mountainous memories gentle down into the lush rolling vistas of central Virginia, and I join my colleagues in the work of RVA’s botanical garden. We gather together from a variety of childhood homes and legacies with a multitude of past experiences, and we engage members and guests from all over the planet. I am persuaded that everyone’s journey to this Garden is different and that everyone’s embrace of the natural world is as unique as an ice crystal forming on a peak a mile above the treeline.

It is said that we tell stories to make sense of our journeys – our families, circumstances and lives. At the Garden we have come to realize that one of the best ways to accomplish our mission, to make sense of our journey, is to tell evocative stories of the plant world and our interaction with it and with each other. We do this in whimsical and fun ways, like this year’s Naturally Ever After theme for the Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights. We do it in the pages of this newsletter, where in the months to come we hope to tell more stories of staff, volunteers, members and community citizens, using words from and about our neighbors to shine a spotlight on the natural world we are committed to presenting, nurturing and celebrating. We are giving thought to our graphic identity (how we “look” in publications, electronic material, mailed correspondence and permanent signs) and how that best reflects the broad reach of the stories we hope to tell and the communities we hope to inspire.

I also am persuaded that the stories that matter for the future of our region, and thus for this Garden, are frequently the stories we are told. We are continually in the planning process and the essential voice for that conversation is yours. Upon examination, it is clear that many programmatic and capital endeavors in our relatively short history sprang from stories of what our region needs, what it wants and what it deserves.

So, let us tell you a story, then, let us hear your story. Let our journeys be enriched by the stories we share.

Executive Director Shane Tippett's passion for plants was kindled in the early ‘90s by a Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden arborist who mentored him on the care of specimen trees. This passion underlies his firm conviction in the transformative power of gardens to re-shape and renew communities, families and individuals and this continues to direct his leadership.

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