Cornell Botanic Gardens works to connect plants and peoples for a world of beauty, diversity, and hope.

Our natural world is extraordinarily diverse, immensely beautiful, and key to our survival. Cornell Botanic Gardens’ strategic plan is a roadmap for our organization and the university, local and global communities to lead in counteracting the devastating decline of biological and cultural diversity that threatens the very existence of many indigenous peoples and ultimately, our human species.

These strategic goals guide us in realizing our vision—a world in which the interdependence of biological and cultural diversity is respected, sustained, and celebrated—while creatively and passionately maintaining our foundational work.

Gardener Pam Shade offering tour of Herb Garden


Cultivate and conserve plants and the cultures they sustain.

  • Cultivate, curate and steward high-quality, sustainably-managed horticulture collections and natural areas.
  • Highlight and celebrate biocultural diversity by linking biological and cultural diversity throughout our natural areas and gardens.
  • Honor a sense of place in our local community.


Nurture the unique and personal connection people have to plants.

  • Use the exceptional experiences our gardens and natural areas afford to change viewpoints and inspire positive action.
  • Promote a stewardship ethic by cultivating the next generation of biocultural guardians.
  • Expand our interpretation to highlight the interconnectedness of plants and peoples.
  • Create exciting installations and unique events that connect to diverse audiences.


Create alliances to collectively fight the loss of biocultural diversity.

  • Catalyze the intellectual resources of the university by strengthening and expanding our connections to Cornell.
  • Serve as a biocultural conservation hub, bridging disciplines to create and share best practices.
  • Forge collaborations with people and groups of different cultures.

Our progress on our strategic goals

Botanic Gardens staffer connects people and plants
October 4, 2018—Emily Detrick, horticulturist, describes how her work connects plants and people. “As gardeners, we have the opportunity to bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world.”

Sustainable Landscapes Trail highlights Cornell Botanic Gardens’ sites
October 2, 2018—Launched in 2017, the trail highlights sustainable design and green infrastructure across the Cornell campus. Cornell Botanic Gardens has long played a prominent role in campus sustainability efforts and is home to seven of the sixteen sites on this trail. Read more in the Cornell Chronicle.

Chef Sean Sherman discusses Indigenous Foods at Cornell Botanic Gardens lecture series
September 4, 2018—Sean Sherman, founder and CEO of The Sioux Chef, talks with WRFI Radio about the role of indigenous food systems in promoting food security, wellbeing, and delicious cuisine.