By Robert Burgess
New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill staff

If you’ve visited New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill before, you know it is a must-see New England destination. But did you know that New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill is much more than a pretty place? Staff, volunteers, and members work year-round to help improve the lives of as many people as possible by connecting them to plants. New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, a nonprofit organization run by the Worcester County Horticultural Society, is focused on inclusivity and wants as many people to experience the benefits of plants and nature as possible. Here are a few examples…

Volunteers planting a fruit tree orchard at Dodge Park in Worcester.

The Worcester Tree Initiative
Responding to the invasive Asian Longhorned Beetle infestation, the Worcester Tree Initiative formed in 2009 to educate the public and help replant areas in the city where susceptible trees were removed. New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill has been a strong advocate of WTI’s since its inception and now WTI functions as a program of New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill as the important work of tree advocacy and urban forests continues.

EBT Card to Culture
New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill has been offering a discounted admission price since 2014 to those with EBT cards. This is part of the state’s EBT Card to Culture program which offers discounts to museums all over Massachusetts.

WRAP students at New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill.

A Refuge for Refugees
The Worcester Refugee Assistance Project (WRAP), a network of individuals committed to assisting local refugees from Burma achieve sustainable self‐reliance through mentoring, advocacy, and material support, partners with New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill to re-connect program participants with nature in an effort to build community. Children and teens are able to cook, garden, draw, and hike together while making connections with their new home.

Welcoming all visitors
Starting in 2017, New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill began raising its Pride flag in conjunction with Worcester’s Pride Week and staff members participate in the annual walk downtown.

New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill’s vegetable garden.

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