The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is pleased to announce that the Seed the Future Comprehensive Campaign exceeded its goal and raised $14,944,536.

These funds are already being used to expand and renovate gardens; enrich work in conservation and education with new, modern facilities; and increase the garden’s long-term sustainability.

“We are so grateful to the nearly 400 people who showed their support for the garden by donating to this campaign,” said Dr. John Wiemann, garden trustee and co-chair of the Seed the Future campaign.

“It shows tremendous faith in the garden’s future and the importance of its conservation mission,” added co-chair Dr. Ed Birch.

Several early gifts to the campaign are already being used for construction, research and preservation:

A $2.5 million gift from Mrs. John C. Pritzlaff focused on building the garden’s first new structure in more than 20 years — the Pritzlaff Conservation Center. The center will consolidate the garden’s research, administration and exhibition areas, including laboratory space, expanded herbarium and a rare plant seed bank. The building is designed to be highly energy efficient, will incorporate photovoltaic panels to produce most of its annual power demand, capture stormwater for use in garden irrigation, and achieve a Gold Level LEED certification. Currently under construction, the Pritzlaff Conservation Center is expected to be completed in the spring of 2016.

The garden created its first endowed position, a plant Systematist, thanks to a $2.3 million contribution from Drs. Ken and Shirley Tucker. The Systematist will continue the garden’s work in plant taxonomy and add the capacity for DNA based research. Dr. Shirley Tucker, a botanist, and Dr. Ken Tucker, an entomologist, knew firsthand the challenges of funding basic research as federal money decreased and private institutions filled the gap.

Major funding from John and Martha Gabbert was an expression of their dedication to the garden’s mission.

“We only have one planet and one of the things that makes this planet such an amazing place to live is the vast diversity of living things. We gave to the Seed the Future campaign because the work the garden is doing in education and research is vital to protecting this wonderful, diverse planet we call home,” enthused John Gabbert.

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s rare books will be available in the University of California Santa Barbara Library’s new Special Collections facility beginning in 2016, thanks to the Seed the Future gift of SAGE Publications chair and co-founder, Sara Miller McCune.

“My goal in making this gift is to ensure the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s important collection of rare books is preserved for generations to come,” Miller McCune said.

Dedicated donors were inspired to give significant gifts at the beginning and end of the campaign. A million-dollar challenge match organized by garden trustee Peter Schuyler, with campaign supporters Gay Bryant, Connie Harvie, Chapin and Cynthia Nolen, Gerry and Bobbie Rubin, and Jack and Judy Stapelmann, helped inspire many of those additional gifts from previous donors.

“It was a real community effort and we are thankful to everyone who made this possible” said Dr. Steve Windhager, executive director of the garden.

In addition to the Pritzlaff Conservation Center, improvements funded by the campaign will include renovation of existing buildings that will expand classroom areas, provide for a fire-safe library on site, and enhance the visitor experience with a new visitors’ gallery. Five gardens are being planted or renovated including: the Home Demonstration Garden, the historic Meadow, the Wooded Dell display around the historic Campbell Bench, a new Island Section, and the Centennial Maze, which commemorates the Garden Club of Santa Barbara’s 100th anniversary.

The garden will remain open to the public while construction is under way on the Pritzlaff Conservation Center on its property east of Mission Canyon Road.

— Rebecca Mordini is the communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.