For almost 30 years, the Vaughn Jordan Foundation has helped the State Botanical Garden educate Georgians about the crucial need for pollinators and how they can make a difference for pollinator conservation in their backyards.
Since 1995, the foundation has contributed more than $200,000 to the garden, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach, to support plant conservation. The funding has gone to two programs that encourage Georgians to install high quality species of plants that attract pollinators: Connect to Protect and Georgia Pollinator Plants of the Year.
“The Vaughn-Jordan Foundation has been a critical partner to the State Botanical Garden for many years,” said Jenny Cruse-Sanders, State Botanical Garden director. “We are grateful for the Vaughn-Jordan Foundation’s support in our educational pollinator programs that encourage Georgians to plant for pollinators in their spaces.”
Established in 1983, the Vaughn-Jordan Foundation was created with the express purpose of furthering botanical and horticultural science. Grants have supported graduate and undergraduate scholarships in the fields of botany or horticultural science, sponsorship of public television programming, and projects related to horticultural and botanical science.
“Supporting the State Botanical Garden of Georgia through its work to protect endangered native plants is exactly what we are about,” said Roland Vaughn, chairman of the board of trustees for the Vaughn-Jordan Foundation. “We enjoy our relationships with the staff and the productive investments we make. We think of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia as a long-term strategic partnership.”
The foundation provided an essential gift of $30,000 to the garden for its Connect to Protect program, which helps to create ambassador gardens throughout Georgia communities, spotlighting the value of native plants and pollinators. It is the State Botanical Garden’s signature pollinator program, designed to connect people, plants and animals through gardening. So far, 95 Connect to Protect gardens have been installed across the state at schools and businesses, in downtowns, parks, apartment complexes and other public spaces.
The Vaughn-Jordan Foundation also contributed to the inaugural Georgia Pollinator Plants of the Year program, which annually recognizes four top-performing landscape plants to be promoted through growers, wholesalers and retailers throughout the state. One each of the four plants is selected from these categories: spring bloomer, summer bloomer, fall bloomer and Georgia native.
The goal of the program is to create a network of horticultural professionals through which plant materials and propagation techniques can be shared, increase statewide availability and diversity of pollinator-supporting plants for consumers, and educate consumers about the increasingly significant impact that landscaping and home gardens can have on pollinator populations.
“Not only has the Vaughn-Jordan Foundation supported the establishment of pollinator habitats, they are also a key partner in conserving and restoring imperiled species,” Cruse-Sanders said.
Pollinators provide pollination services to more than 180,000 plant species and over 1,200 crops. According to the Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit organization that promotes the health of pollinators, one of every three bites of food we eat exists because of pollinators.
The State Botanical Garden of Georgia serves as an important resource for connecting people with plant options and sources, best practices and educational tools. As a program of UGA, Connect to Protect applies institutional knowledge and research to address critical conservation needs in Georgia.
For more information about the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and its pollinator programs, visit botgarden.uga.edu. Interested in making a gift? Reach out to Johnathon Barrett, director of development, at 912-398-9750, or firstname.lastname@example.org.