Chicago is fortunate this week to be hosting the Annual Meeting for the American Association of Botanical Gardens & Arboretums. With great gardens like Cantigny, the Morton Arboreteum, the Chicago Botanical Garden, the Garfield Park Conservatory and the new Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park, Chicago is the perfect place to host this group.

Mayor Richard M. Daley gave the opening key note address to over 600 members of the group at the Mid-America Club on Thursday. At the conclusion of his speech, Claire Sawyers, the Director of the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College came forward to present the Scott Award to Mayor Daley. This is one of the most prestigious awards in gardening and horticulture and was given for the first time to a public official and for the first time at a location outside of Swartmore.

The Award includes a Medal and a monetary award of $10,000 which can spent at the complete discretion of the recipient. We were honored that Mayor Daley directed that the award be given directly to the Chicago High School of Agricultural Sciences and be spent on the organic garden and display at the 2006 Chicago Flower & Garden Show.

CHSAS Principal, David Gilligan, with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Claire Sawyers, Director of the Scott Arboretum, at the presentation of the Scott Medal to the Mayor

Chicago Mayor Richard M.
Daley receives 2005 Scott Garden and Horticulture Medal and Award from the Scott

Mayor Richard M. Daley was awarded the 2005 Arthur Hoyt Scott Garden and Horticulture Medal and Award on June 30 at the 2005 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta held in Chicago, June 29 – July 2 by Claire Sawyers, Director of the Scott Arboretum. The over 500 horticultural professionals attending the meeting celebrated Mayor Daley’s accomplishments in “greening” the city of Chicago for the past sixteen years. Since he became mayor in 1989, the City has planted more than 500,000 trees, created 100 school campus parks, built 70 miles of landscaped street medians and spurred the construction of rooftop gardens on major buildings including City Hall.

“No matter which side of the political aisle one assumes, the mayor’s dedication to a greening agenda can never be questioned,” stated William Aldrich, president and publisher of Chicagoland Gardening magazine and supporter of Mayor Daley’s nomination for the award. These tireless efforts and forward thinking make Mayor Daley an ideal recipient of the 2005 Arthur Hoyt Scott Garden and Horticulture Medal and Award and, as the first politician to receive the award, a shining example for other politicians to follow.

The Arthur Hoyt Scott Garden and Horticultural Award, given by the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College, is considered one of the most prestigious in American horticulture. It was established in 1929 to recognize individuals who, in the opinion of the selection committee, have made outstanding, national contributions to the science and art of gardening. The 2005 award of a gold medal together with $10,000 is given as an acknowledgement of “achievement of great merit, a recognition of work in creating and developing a wider interest in gardening.” Mayor Daley requested that his cash award of $10,000 be given directly to the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. The school’s principal, Mr. Dave Gilligan, who accepted the check at the award presentation, said they will devote the funds to their organic garden and horticulture programs. The school is the only public high school to participate in the Chicago Flower & Garden Show.
“Mayor Daley’s contribution to the world of urban horticulture reaches across many disciplines. His insistence on bringing the catch-word ‘green’ into almost every project the city undertakes has brought new enlightenment, a new way of doing business in his busy city. Visitors may ooh and ahh over the median planters along the city’s Michigan Avenue, but that is the tip of the veritable iceberg of planting/greening initiatives that drive Chicago,” explained Aldrich.

“Mayor Daley had the vision to dream big dreams and to marshal public foundations and private-sector resources to make the vision a reality. What began with beautification of areas in the heart of the city’s business and tourism districts quickly expanded to include innovative rooftop gardening, environmental education programs, and the crowning glory of Millenium Park, which features world-class architecture and beautiful public spaces such as the Lucie Garden,” as described by Barbara Whitney Carr, President and CEO of Chicago Botanic Garden, and another nomination supporter.

In addition to spurring the planting of 500,000 trees, the placement 70 miles of new median planters, and the renovation of 30 miles of boulevard, the mayor has established Chicago Center for Green Technology. This facility was awarded a Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating from the U.S. Green Building Council and houses the Greencorps Chicago whose mission is to improve the quality of life throughout Chicago by providing horticulture instruction, materials, and employment. When creating the green roof on top of City Hall, the mayor wanted to set an example to other businesses in the city by improving the city’s own building first.

A former state senator and county prosecutor,

Daley was elected Mayor in 1989 to complete the term of the late Harold Washington, and was re-elected in 1991, 1995, 1999, and 2003 by overwhelming margins. He has been awarded the J. Sterling Morton Award from the National Arbor Day Foundation, the Keystone Award from the American Architectural Foundation, Municipal Leader of the Year by American City and County magazine, Public Official of the Year by Governing magazine and many more.

“What Chicago has accomplished is a model for other cities, whether beautifying downtowns or working with residents and businesses to improve quality of life in neighborhoods,” stated Carr.

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