Garden News Blog

Children’s Garden Instructors Honored at the White House

Last week when BBG was awarded the Institute of Museum and Library Services' National Medal, I traveled to the White House as part of the delegation representing the Garden at the award ceremony.

I feel honored to have been included to represent BBG. I am also a huge fan of Michelle Obama and was very excited to be in the same room with her. She walked in and just had an amazing presence and lit up the room. When she began to speak, there was a silence, and after her speech it was as if the atmosphere had changed and everyone was a little happier. I love her style and her commitment to helping people lead healthy lives. I hope to be part of that change.

When I started out at BBG in the Garden Apprentice Program (GAP) five years ago, I would never have guessed that my experience here would lead me to an audience with the First Lady. Chidi Duke, who accepted the medal for BBG, was actually one of the first people I met when I came in for my GAP interview. He was one of the apprentices who was working that day to ease the nerves of those of us being interviewed. He had a great personality and made me feel confident even though I was extremely nervous.

After my three years in GAP were finished, I did not want to leave BBG, so I became a program assistant for a year and then an instructor. It is amazing to have my own group of four-year-olds and two Garden Apprentices to help me on my own journey as an educator.

Ashley Gagñay is an instructor in the Children's Garden.


  • Dr. Blythe Hinitz May 17, 2014

    As a BBG CG alum, I am thrilled to learn of this wonderful national award that spotlights the outstanding work the BBG Children’s Garden program has been doing for 100 years.

  • Ellen Kirby May 13, 2014

    This is a wonderful testimony for the thousands of children who have traveled through the gates of the BBG Children’s Garden and to all the supporters, staff, and volunteers who have made it possible.

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BBG Receives National Medal
Brooklyn Botanic Garden received a 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, presented by First Lady Michelle Obama at an event in the White House on May 8. Accepting the medal on behalf of Brooklyn Botanic Garden were BBG president Scot Medbury and Chidi Duke, an instructor and alumnus of BBG’s renowned Children’s Garden program. Photo courtesy of IMLS.