The end of 2018 will coincide with the end of the nonprofit organization Botanical Artists for Education & the Environment (BAEE).
Established in 2011 by a small group of artists in the Washington, DC, area, BAEE has proved to be a great success. The group solicited donations to publish the book American Botanical Paintings: Native Plants of the Mid Atlantic, sold almost 3,000 copies of the book, and by the end of this year will have donated or awarded over $100,000 in grants, charitable donations, and books to organizations with a native plant focus – not bad for a small group of botanical artists who wanted to use their art for the betterment of our communities.
From the proceeds of book sales BAEE donated $61,000 in the form of grants to nonprofit organizations dedicated to native plant use, conservation, or education. Here is what the grant recipients accomplished:
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia, received a $20,000 grant in May 2016 to purchase and implement a new record-keeping system that has improved their curatorial, horticultural, and botanical management of native plants, which then has enabled their application to become certified by the American Public Garden Association.
Earth Sangha in Fairfax, Virginia, received a $10,000 grant in October 2016 to expand their Wild Plant nursery inventory to support and formalize the Schoolyard Greening Kit program, which uses native plants as a conservation and education tool for local schools. They produced a Schoolyard Garden Kit Manual, making it possible for this successful program to be implemented elsewhere.
The National Fund of the U.S. Botanic Garden received a $16,000 grant in November 2016 to extend the work of their botanical illustrator intern, Mara Menahan. Mara created an outdoor field guide for the newly renovated Bartholdi Park Garden, showcasing native plants, and also designed informative signs for use in and around the USBG. Her work was featured by Adrian Higgins, garden columnist for The Washington Post in March 2017.
The American Society of Botanical Artists received a $15,000 grant in October 2017 to fund a catalog for the USA exhibition of “Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora.” The United States is one of twenty-five countries celebrating their indigenous plants with exhibitions held around the world in 2018.
Remaining funds will be given this month as charitable donations to three nonprofit organizations to further their native plant programs: the American Society of Botanical Artists, Earth Sangha, and the Foundation of the State Arboretum of Virginia. The American Horticultural Society, Friends of the US Botanic Garden, and Meadowlark Botanical Gardens have received the remainder of the books. This last round of charitable donations represents close to $40,000.
The BAEE Board of Directors greatly appreciates all of the support we have received, friendships we have enjoyed, expertise we gained as artists, but most of all, the enthusiasm and excitement generated by our focus on native plants.