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Strategic Planning

Starting in 2014 with the hire of Dr. Christopher Dunn as the E.N. Wilds Director of Cornell Botanic Gardens and at the direction of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Kathryn Boor, we engaged in a strategic planning effort to examine the vision and mission driving our efforts, the values upon which we operate, and our brand.

We embarked on this process to develop a strategic action plan and examine our brand identity with the goal that all we do supports and enhances the University’s mission and the Engaged Cornell and Global Cornell initiatives.

Our Advisory Council has been working closely with us and our brand consultants as we consider all aspects of our identity, our name, our mission and how our identity can best reflect what Cornell Botanic Gardens is and does. 

We have also engaged with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and leaders across the University to better position ourselves as an integral and necessary aspect of what makes Cornell a great University, both in its appreciation of diversity in nature and in humanity.

This strategic planning process is the next evolutionary step for Cornell Botanic Gardens as we look to the future to conserve our world’s biological and cultural diversity and to cultivate a fuller appreciation of the natural world with you and the generations to come.

New Vision and Mission

A world in which the interdependence of biological and cultural diversity is respected, sustained, and celebrated.

Inspiring people – through cultivation, conservation, and education – to understand, appreciate, and nurture plants and the cultures they sustain.

Recommendation to Rename

"Cornell Botanic Gardens" was officially approved Oct. 28 by the Cornell University Board of Trustees, upon recommendation by our Executive Director, Christopher Dunn to change our name. The new name clearly identifies this place as a public garden and better reflect our new mission, vision, and the depth and diversity of our programs. Read more.


April 2014

  • Dr. Christopher Dunn starts as E. N. Wilds Director 
  • CALS Dean Kathryn Boor asks Dr. Dunn to take an in-depth look at the organization and see how the original mission can be adapted to inform modern needs

April 2014-April 2015:

  • Dr. Dunn meets with staff and Advisory Council, Cornell and CALS leaders to understand Cornell Botanic Gardens' brand and role within the University and College.
  • Dr. Dunn and staff leaders commence strategic planning sessions, branding consultants hired to examine Plantations brand.

April 2015 – April 2016:   

  • Branding consultants conduct interviews and focus groups with in-house staff and Cornell administrators, faculty, staff and students, Cornell Botanic Gardens supporters and community members. A brand survey is administered to 2700 Plantations “fans.” 

May 2016   

  • Branding consultants deliver recommendations to Cornell Botanic Gardens leaders, staff and Advisory Council. 

August 2016

  • Cornell Botanic Gardens leadership presented brand recommendation to CALS leadership
  • CALS and Cornell Botanic Gardens leadership recommended rebranding process to University leadership

Fall/Winter 2016-17       

  • Cornell Botanic Gardens concludes its strategic planning efforts