Elizabeth Scholtz, BBG Director Emeritus, Receives a Bounty of Prestigious Honors
Scholtz’s Decades of Leadership Recognized
Release Date: December 10, 2009
Brooklyn, New York—Brooklyn Botanic Garden director emeritus Elizabeth Scholtz was honored at Old Westbury Garden's annual December dinner on December 4, capping a season of awards received by Miss Scholtz - widely considered one of the living legends of American public gardens - from some of the region's most distinguished horticultural institutions. In addition to Old Westbury, Wave Hill, the Horticultural Society of New York, and Teatown Lake Reservation have cited Miss Scholtz this fall for her nearly five decades of leadership in and outstanding contributions to horticulture, all while associated with Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG). Born in South Africa, Miss Scholtz received a BS degree in botany and zoology from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg before coming to the U.S. in 1957 to begin a yearlong fellowship in hematology at the Yamins and Kirstein Laboratories at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. She became captivated by Brooklyn Botanic Garden, joining the staff of BBG in 1960, initially as head of adult education, where between 1960 and 1971 she engineered the expansion of the program from 1,100 adult learners to over 4,000. During her tenure as the Garden's director, from 1972 to 1980, she was responsible for administering three other New York research stations in addition to the 52-acre botanic garden in Brooklyn: the 223-acre Kitchawan Research Station in Ossining, the 320-acre Teatown Lake Reservation, and the 12-acre Clark Botanic Garden in Albertson. (These are no longer affiliated with BBG.)
Miss Scholtz has lectured widely on botany and written numerous articles for horticultural and popular publications; most recently she provided the preface for the 2008 book 1001 Gardens You Must See Before You Die. She knows whereof she speaks, having led 100 botanical tour groups to 46 countries for Brooklyn Botanic Garden since 1966. Miss Scholtz continues to work out of her office at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where she serves as a deep resource for staff, volunteers, and visitors, readily dispensing the vast knowledge and good humor for which she is widely known. Teatown Lake Reservation's September event program reflected the appreciation the horticultural community feels toward her when it applauded Miss Scholtz "for her generosity of time, knowledge, and spirit; for her indefatigable devotion to helping others; for mentoring us in all ways, including friendship; and for showing us what it is to be a dedicated leader in the fields of horticulture and volunteerism."