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, donors, and members work year-round at our nonprofit organization to help improve the lives of as many people as possible by connecting them to plants. Here are a few examples…

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

The Worcester Tree Initiative
The Worcester Tree Initiative, part of New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill’s Outreach Department, is out in the community almost every day working with volunteers and partners to care for and plant trees. Examples include pruning trees at the The Healing Garden Cancer Support Center, planting an urban fruit orchard in Dodge Park in Worcester, and partnering with the Worcester Youth Center and MassPort to employ at risk youth in a summer tree watering program. What started in 2009 as a collaborative effort to educate the region about the invasive Asian Longhorned Beetle infestation and to help plant replacement trees for those that fell victim to that pest, has evolved into a shining and lasting example of what can be accomplished when plant, tree, and nature lovers from all walks of life come together.

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
In 2017, New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill started its tradition of r