Taking critical action
Since its inception, Norfolk Botanical Garden has focused with collecting and managing plants. It all started in 1938 with azaleas and the desire to lure visitors to the area with colorful blooms. Over 80 years later, we continue to add to the azalea collection and strive to connect visitors to nature. It is our mission to collect species and varieties that do well in the local landscape, are important historically and culturally, have national significance and may be endangered in their native environment.
With climate change and habitat loss, it is increasingly important for botanical gardens to act as safe refuges for both plants and people. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, of the six taxa most threatened with extinction on Earth, three are plants: cycads, selected dicots (including cacti), and conifers. The other three are amphibians, sharks, and reptiles. The IUCN Red List is a critical, dynamic indicator of the state of our knowledge about the health and future of global biodiversity. In 2019, we expanded our conifer collection with a generous grant from the American Conifer Society. This summer, we are breaking ground for our Perry Conservatory, where both endangered cacti and cycads will have a safe home. While visitors will still be able to see colorful blooms, they will more importantly be able to see conservation in action.