Scottsdale Rotarians receive update on Desert Botanical Garden

From left, Rotarian John Campbell, Ken Schutz, Rotarian and Program Chair Christopher West and Club President Mary Blank ready for the Feb. 26 meeting of the Rotary Club of Scottsdale.

Members of The Rotary Club of Scottsdale received a glimpse into the operations at Desert Botanical Gardens during the club’s Feb. 26 held at the Scottsdale McCormick Lakeside Ballroom.

Rotarian John Campbell introduced Ken Schutz, executive director of Desert Botanical Gardens. Mr. Campbell stated that Mr. Schutz has held executive leadership positions within cultural institutions for more than 20 years; with 16 of those years spent at the world-class Desert Botanical Gardens and facilities.

Mr. Schutz provided attendees with a historical perspective of the 150-acre facility. Visitors can wander at one’s own pace within 50 acres of the venue’s gardens, trails, exhibits, galleries, courtyards, portals, centers (research, horticulture center, visitor), garden shop and gift shop. The garden’s attendance varies year to year from 400-600,000 visitors depending on exhibits, such as, Dale Chihuly’s glass artwork.

Over the past 16 years several major capital campaigns have been completed to fund the garden’s growing endowment fund and build new and/or upgrade the garden’s trails and facilities, such as, the garden’s  horticulture, butterfly and research centers, meeting facilities, parking lots, gift shops, educational and meeting facilities.

The $12 million operating budget income resources come primarily from admissions, memberships, fundraisers, grants, major gifts, its endowment fund earnings, and restaurant, gift shop and plant sales.

At the heart of the facility, according to Mr. Campbell, are 800 volunteers who share over 80,000 hours of time each year. Volunteers are known to have strong connections with gardens and serve side by side with staff, management and board members.

The facility offers a Garden Hotline, master gardener consulting and a full calendar of events, including a spring paint-out, spring plant sale, Corks & Cactus, music in the garden, dog’s day in the garden seasonal tables, Las Noches Luminarias, Agave on the Rocks, Ballet Arizona’s Topia and more.


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