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About Climate & Sustainability Alliance

Photo credit: Powell Gardens

Climate Change poses an existential threat to the flora and ecosystems public gardens showcase and conserve. The American Public Gardens Association is committed to supporting member gardens as leaders in sustainability and global climate change awareness. As conservation leaders, public gardens identify and mitigate critical threats to ecosystems, particularly as it pertains to biodiversity.

Climate and Education Resources

The American Public Gardens Association and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) partnership provides public garden professionals with opportunities for exchange on the impacts of climate variability and change, while utilizing the most current climate data.

Public Gardens have unique credibility as trusted science and conservation educators. As important centers of conservation as well as formal and informal science education, public gardens serve as a major source of climate change and sustainability information for visitors and students of all ages and skill levels.

Find NOAA tools and curriculum to address the challenges of communicating climate change to diverse audiences in the Library & Media Center.

Establishing Sector-wide Sustainability Standards

The Public Gardens Sustainability Index is an industry-specific tool with a structure that encompasses Environmental, Social, and Financial Sustainability best practices for gardens of all sizes, financial capacities, community demographics, and geographies.

“I have purposely presented the land ethic as a product of social evolution because nothing so important as an ethic is ever ‘written’… It evolves in the minds of a thinking community.”

~Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

~John Muir

The Association would like to echo the sentiments of these two great environmental pioneers in saying, this Sustainability Index would not be possible without the many contributions from public garden professionals, individuals in academia, and individuals in the government and private sectors, all of whom are experts in their fields. Contributors to this index are part of an extensive interview and peer review process representing different gardens and perspectives across North America and beyond. Every effort has been made to engage field-wide specialists from diverse communities in vetting the “living documents” that make up this holistic and multi-faceted set of resources.

The Public Gardens Sustainability Index represents a thoughtful community of many individuals. The 12 Sustainability Index Attributes are interconnected; one cannot “tug” on a single attribute without finding it attached to the rest. The same can be said about our membership, the path to achieving more sustainable behaviors and practices is not to address social, economic, and environmental concerns on an individual basis. We would like to single out those individuals who contributed to this index by generously giving their time.

Our sincerest thank you!


Scott Aker

Pam Allenstein

Erica Anderson

Simon Branson

Allie Byrd Skaer

Lauren Cerruti

Duron Chavis

Ann-Marie Crossan

Kaslin Daniels 

Michael Dosmann

Rodney  Eason

Maxx Echt

Jim Fava

Carmia Feldman

Tanya Finney

Mackenzie Fochs

David Forehand

Deborah Frank

William Friedman

Randy Gage

David Galbraith

Ann Gallagher

Neil Gerlowski 

Jim Graves

Patrick Griffith

Curtic Harnanan

Tamara Houston

Randee Humphrey

Erin Kinley

Shawn Kister

Donna Krabill

Paul Kuenstner

Susan Lacerte

Frederique Lavoipierre

Peter Lowe

MaryLynn Mack

Patrick MacRae 

Chelsea Mahaffey

Chris McAnally

Steve McCann

Kimberlie McCue

Rebecca McMacken

Pam Meisner

Luke Messinger

Abby Meyer

Ray Mims

Kats Moraney

Brian Morgan

Robert E. Mottern

Sarah Munroe

Adrienne Nakashima

Grace Parker

Andi Pettis

Richard Piacentini

Danielle Pieranunzi

Mary Kathryn Poole

Tracy Qui

Don Rakow

Paul Redman

Jennifer Riley-Chetwynd

Mike Roberts

Sarah Rummery

Jennifer Schwarz Ballard

Casey Sclar

Rich Shinataku

Melanie Sifton

Ian Simpkins

Andrea Smerek

Jewel Snavely

Claude Stephens

Shannon Still

Shane Tippett

Sharon Van Loon

Peter White

Steve Windhager

Mark Winnicki

Jason Wirwick

Rachel Young