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We Must Do More

hand holding crystal ball reflecting Blomquist pond and millstone path
Photo by Clarence Burke

Just as nature benefits from healthy biodiversity, human communities cannot flourish without embracing the full diversity of our experiences, cultures, knowledge and talents.

But Sarah P. Duke Gardens, like many public gardens across the nation, does not sufficiently reflect the community where it is located or the vital contributions by Black community members and other people of color in Duke Gardens’ creation and growth. This is also true in the makeup of our staff, volunteers and board of advisors, as well as in the voices and expertise we share through our public programs and interpretation.

We have been moving purposefully toward these goals in recent years, as part of Duke University’s commitment as well as that of the American Public Gardens Association.  But the anti-racism protests following the horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery—and so many others whose stories are untold or only now being shared—show us that we are moving too slowly and must put greater priority on rectifying the inequities that exclude people of color from being an integral part of every aspect of Duke Gardens.

What we are doing:

  • Changing staff and intern recruitment practices to attract more diverse candidates.
  • Working with local leaders and organizations to build a volunteer team that better reflects the community we serve.
  • Participating in staff-wide anti-bias and diversity training with Duke’s Office of Institutional Equity and other local facilitators.
  • Sharing best practices from other gardens and public institutions via our staff Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and committing to the individual and team introspection needed to address and eliminate biases.
  • Listening to, learning from and amplifying voices of Black scientists and nature enthusiasts in social media, in our programs and on our website.

We are listening. How can we improve? Whom should we be learning from or partnering with? Please share your thoughts with us at

Bill LeFevre
Executive Director
Sarah P. Duke Gardens