The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden has been around for 88 years this year

Misha McRae, executive director of the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM yesterday morning to talk about what’s going on in the garden.

Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden has been the keeper of the trees for over 88 years.

McRae said, “Happy anniversary. February 23 is our 88th anniversary. We’re very, very excited and very pleased to still be here.”

The garden is looking for an education manager.

McRae said, “We’re looking for a dynamic, interactive, molding young minds education manager, to head of our living lab program. Many already know that we’ve been supporting a living lab at the Key West Tropical Forests and Botanical Gardens since 2006. It’s become a staple within the school district, charter, private, homeschool even. We’re looking for that person that really connects with the kids, has a science background that is very enthusiastic about land based biology, working with the STEM system and systems through the Florida standards. A fun, passionate, rewarding opportunity for any person that wants to get out there and just reconnect with our youth.”

A writers workshop is coming up this Saturday at 10am. There’s just a modest $15 registration fee.

McRae said, “This is our second year. This is part of our nature is art program to rediscover nature, through the arts. Kristina Niehouse with the College of the Florida Keys will be giving two part workshop where we meet out at the garden, we review some writing, some different techniques. We do what I call a walk about the garden to get inspiration, reconvene, write an article down and then it’s a two parter because it is followed up with a session to review, critique and the whole object of this is to rediscover nature, using your muse, whatever that may be, for a gallery opening April 15. We’re meeting at the courtyard. Registration is $15. There are still 10 spots available. So please reach out to me at 305-296-1501.”

A Garden Fest will be held March 2.

McRae said, “Our annual signature event, Garden Fest Key West and Green Market Place. We work with the local artisans to do an art market. We have vendors come in with plant wares and plants themselves. We talk about conservation, planting techniques. It’s a full day from 10 to 4 on March 2nd of outdoor activities. We have a children’s science corner, something for the kids as well. It’s a fun great way to get out to the garden to be outdoors and learn more about our conservation.”

The mission of the garden is to preserve, develop, expand and maintain the historic Key West Botanical Garden as an arboretum Botanical Garden, Cultural Heritage Museum, Wildlife Refuge and Education Center.

The Education Center is in need of replacement at the moment.

McRae said, “We’re in phase two of the program. We are seeking bids for architectural drawings for a new education office. The Education Office has actually utilized an old construction trailer that we brought in back in 2006 and it has way outlived its life. Education Department desperately needs a new office, up to date facilities. Our hopes is to have office for a classroom. We’ve only had outdoor classrooms up until this point, a library, storage of course, science space as well as access to the native nursery, which has become the outdoor classroom. We are looking for donations to help with the capital campaign to build this new building because it’s not going to be cheap. It is 2024 and anyone interested in helping out please reach out to me and become a supporter and get involved.”

The garden is located at 5210 College Road and they are always looking for volunteers.

McRae said, “The Botanical Garden has been a volunteer organization since its inception in 1936. It has continued to be. In fact, the whole basis of why we’re still here is because there’s always been a dedicated group of volunteers who’ve done what they’ve done needed to do to keep the garden vibrant and alive and located where we’re located at. Membership is the number one way to support the garden. Your donations help support the operations and this mission statement that we truly believe in. We’ve always advocated a think globally but act locally. Volunteers are always needed. You go to the garden, you visit it, you wonder why it looks so nice, it is because of our volunteers. And of course donations are what keeps this boat afloat. All donations including your memberships are tax deductible, greatly appreciated, and help sustain this long historic running of the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden. Keep in mind that every day it’s a great day at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Gardens, please come out and visit.”

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