The state of Florida has included $600,000 in its new budget to support Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ efforts to house its scientific collections in facilities that will protect them from hurricanes and major storms. The appropriation comes during a year when Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed more than $1 billion worth of projects in the wake of the state’s economic crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Selby Gardens maintains scientifically-documented collections of orchids and bromeliads, along with other plant collections, electronic databases, rare books, scientific journals, digital images and video from 45 years of research by some of the world’s leading botanists. The collections are currently housed in older, formerly residential buildings on the Selby Gardens downtown Sarasota campus, which aren’t built to current hurricane standards. The appropriation will be of tremendous help as Selby Gardens looks to move the collections into modern, hurricane-resilient facilities as part of the master plan it has submitted to the City of Sarasota for approval.