In April 2019, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee was formed at the North Carolina Botanical Garden with the goal of improving the diversity of staff, volunteers, board members, and event attendees.  The committee spent several months gathering resources, reviewing assessments made of diversity at NCBG, conducting an all-staff Intercultural Development Inventory, and consulting with professional staff at North Carolina State University to develop this strategic plan. At the one-year mark, the committee has created this three-year strategic plan. It will be used to advance and enhance the mission of the North Carolina Botanical Garden as a leader in native plant conservation and education in the southeastern United States.

NCBG Mission Statement

Our guiding mission is to inspire understanding, appreciation, and conservation of plants and to advance a sustainable relationship between people and nature. 

Diversity Statement

As a garden focused on conserving the biodiversity of southeastern native plants, we recognize that just as biodiversity is critical to a healthy ecosystem, diversity in people and perspectives makes our organization and community stronger. NCBG is committed to creating an environment in our gardens and natural areas where everyone’s voice is heard and everyone feels safe and welcome.  

Aim One – Create a Culture of Inclusiveness

Increase diversity and diversity awareness in staff, volunteers, members, board members, and general public audiences. With this aim we hope to establish and maintain an institutional culture of trust so that people feel free to explore and express a variety of perspectives and experiences, as well as to engage in challenging conversations.  

GOAL 1: Ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion are part of the Garden’s core values and are reflected in the leadership and organizational culture. 


    • Create NCBG diversity, equity & inclusion webpage with resources available to staff and the public. Connect staff to opportunities at university events, programs, and discussions via a staff only page. Ask those that attend programs outside of the Garden to provide staff with event feedback, either at staff meeting or via Teams as appropriate. 
      • Timeline: Fall 2020 
      • Committee Member Lead: Jennifer Peterson, David Michaud 
    • Quantify NCBGF member, program participant and visitor demographics including through the fall 2020 membership survey and observational data collected by volunteers. 
      • Timeline: Year One, ongoing 
      • Committee Member Lead: Jennifer Peterson 
    • Present to the executive committee of the Board of Directors on scope of committee work and how board members might support the committee 
      • Timeline: Annually, during board training in January
      • Committee Member Lead: Jennifer Peterson and Claire Lorch 
    • Include NCBG diversity statement in all job hiring postings 
      • Timeline: Fall 2020 
      • Committee Member Lead: Damon Waitt 
    • Incorporate an NCBG diversity goal in all annual permanent staff performance reviews 
      • Timeline: Year One research, Year Two implement 
      • Committee Member Lead: Damon Waitt 
    • Implement annual all-staff diversity training (similar in scope to IDI assessment) 
      • Timeline: Fall 2021 
      • Committee Member Lead: 
    • Examine existing and future Garden policies and procedures for inequities. 
      • Year One, ongoing  
      • All Committee Effort 

GOAL 2: Increase diversity of staff, volunteers, and board members. 


    • Form a group aimed at implementing hiring process enhancements and providing guidance for supervisors and hiring committees 
      • Identify and utilize diverse social media, website, and publication markets to post new full and part time positions. 
        • Timeline: Year One 
      • Include a standard diversity question during the interview process for all candidates of every job posting (e.g. What are your experiences and successes in working with diverse populations and/or audiences?) 
        • Timeline: Spring 2021 
      • Ensure hiring committee members reflect diverse backgrounds and the ability to evaluate candidates for diverse skill sets (at least one outside community partner committee member representative when possible) 
        • Timeline: Year Two 
    • Recruit more diverse nominees for the NCBGF Board. 
      • Timeline: Annually, voting each November 
    • Explore creating a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Internship 
      • Timeline: Year Two 
    • Learn more about how various cultures “volunteer” and their attitudes towards volunteering in outdoor spaces.  
      • Timeline: Year One 
      • Committee Member Lead: 
    • Incorporate opportunities for diverse membership. 
      • Timeline: Year One, ongoing 
      • Committee Member Lead: Damon Waitt 

Aim Two – Accessibility for All

Prioritize inclusion, accessibility, and diversity so the Garden is a welcoming place for all.  

GOAL 3: Maintain and create new opportunities for people of all backgrounds and abilities to access the Garden and participate in our programs. 


    • Develop a History of the Land document 
      • Timeline: Years One and Two 
      • Committee Member Lead: Emily Oglesby
    • Use History of the Land document to create ethnobotanical signage, new tour content and audio tour content 
      • Timeline: Years Two and Three 
    • Cultivate leadership and participation from a diverse community of experts including instructors and speakers. 
      • Timeline: Year One, ongoing 
    • Explore expanding NCBG Hours and how to implement 
      • Timeline: Year One 
      • Committee Member Lead: David Michaud 
    • Explore creating rental incentive for new and diverse groups to use our facilities  
      • Timeline: Year One 
      • Committee Member Lead: David Michaud 
    • Recruit individuals to conduct multi-language tours  
      • Timeline: Year Two and Three 
    • Add to our list of preferred catererto include diverse businesses with special attention to BIPOC-led businesses  
      • Timeline: Year One 
      • Committee Member Lead: Claire Lorch 
    • Explore developing a discount program for class registration for under-represented groups 
      • Timeline: Year Two 
    • Fund and establish an annual lecture focused on Diversity and Inclusion in the botanical world 
      • Timeline: Year Two 
    • Explore options for replacing offensive or insensitive common and scientific plant names 
      • Timeline: Year Two and Three 

Aim Three – Engage the Community by Building Trust 

Engage and collaborate with diverse populations, cultures, and abilities by building trust and forming meaningful relationships. With this aim we hope that we form new partnerships with members of all the communities we serve and that these community members become partners in our planning and events.  

GOAL 4. Form meaningful relationships with a full range of cultural organizations. 


    • Develop planning groups that include people from university communities (including  American Indian Center, Latinx, Asian American Center, and the Stone Center), people from target community groupsand university students 
      • Timeline: Year One, ongoing  
      • Committee Member Lead: Damon Waitt 
    • Present to individual NCBG departments (Horticulture, Conservation, Education, Administrative Services) to enlist assistance in creating relationships and programming with our target communities. 
      • Timeline: Year One, annually
      • Committee Member Lead: Ainsley Briggs 
    • Cultivate relationships with 5-6 new community partners external to UNC 
      • Timeline: Year One, ongoing 
      • Committee Member Lead: Claire Lorch
    • Reach out to UNC professors to explore relationship building. 
      • Timeline: Year Two 
    • Explore building relationships with college, high school, and middle school students and the agencies that serve them.
      • Timeline: Year One, ongoing 
      • Committee Member Lead: David Michaud