About Us

The Key West Botanical Garden Society, Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit charitable corporation, manages and operates this historical property. We are the only frost-free botanical garden in the continental United States

 Keeper of the Trees since 1936

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Explore our history

Since 1936 when we were founded by the federal government as part of the Depression Era recovery efforts, we have been faithful to our mission to preserve, protect and sustain our sensitive tropical eco-system. Unlike traditional botanical gardens, we recognize the importance of native plants and species in a natural conservation habitat.

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Our blueprint for the future

In 2006, the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden conducted an extensive examination of its history, its original structures and plants and developed a long-range strategic plan for growing and improving the Garden facilities, education programs and botanical expertise. That project serves as the blueprint for  our future.

The Key West Botanical Garden Society

Ground was broken in 1936 for the Garden. The Key West Botanical Garden Society is governed by an all volunteer board of directors and has been the “keeper of the trees” since 1988.

The society preserves, develops, expands and maintains the historic, 15.2-acre Key West Botanical Garden as an arboretum, botanical garden, wildlife refuge and education center. The land is owned by the City of Key West

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The garden showcases flora native to The Florida Keys, Cuba, and the Caribbean and emphasizes cultivation of threatened and endangered species of the Florida Keys.

This society encourages study of this collection and promotes the benefits of native vegetation worldwide. The society provides educational programs for all age groups and various levels of interest geared to Keys residents, tourists, plant experts and others.

As a registered not-for-profit corporation, the board is committed to the strictest standards for this type of company.  Please review the Key West Botanical Garden Society Code of Ethical Conduct to see how we operate in practice.

You can review our required public documents and operating budgets for free at our GuideStar Profile.

 

About the Garden

We are the only “frost-free,” subtropical forest and botanical garden in the continental United States. A tropical environment with ample rain allows most trees to retain their leaves in the dry season (December through late May). It is home to endangered and threatened flora and fauna. Unlike traditional botanical gardens, this 15.2-acre garden advocates the importance of native plants and species through education in a natural conservation habitat.

The garden is a major migratory stopping point for neo-tropical birds from places as far as South America and home to many rare birds in the Florida Keys.

Enjoy this tropical forest and garden for a chance to view rare butterflies, migratory and resident birds, tropical and subtropical plants and beautiful flowers.

A visit begins with a smiling volunteer greeter at our education center. See a short film to familiarize yourself with the operation and browse the photo walls. Pick up a garden guide that describes the eight self-guided information tours, two wetland habitats and two butterfly gardens.

The lush courtyard has a waterfall wall of tropical plants and the turtles happily show off their home. Meander through a one-acre butterfly habitat with over 39 Identified species. Stroll through a lush canopy of tropical trees. Discover the hidden pond and maybe see a rare resident white crowned pigeon or bald eagle!

 

Our Mission

The purpose of the Key West Botanical Society is to preserve, develop, expand and maintain the historic Key West Botanical Garden as an arboretum, botanical garden, cultural heritage museum, wildlife refuge and education center.

Learn more about our history

The Key West Botanical Garden was founded and developed by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration as a showplace for tourists during the Depression in the 1930’s when Key West went bankrupt. Simply click on the globe and explore our fascinating history.

We are grateful to our partners for their continuing support

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Museums 4 All
Florida Hisitorical Resources logo
The Key West Botanical Society gives thanks to the National Endowment of Humanities and the Florida Humanities Cares for their financial support through the COVID crisis.  The Garden continues to grow through their support.
National Endowment Humanities
FL Humanities Cars

Meet our staff and board of directors

Misha D. McRAE | Executive Director

Misha D. McRAE | Executive Director

Misha D. McRAE is executive director of the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden. A resident of Key West since 1996, Misha McRAE was a business owner that joined the Key West Botanical Garden Society in 1997, first as a volunteer and member and then quickly transitioned to the Board of Directors, lending his administrative, financial, Human Resources and customer service background to the organization. 
In 2004, Misha transitioned from the public to the non-profit sector when he made the move from the Board of Directors to become the first paid administrator of the Society. Through perseverance and hard work, Misha was promoted to General Manager in 2010 and became Executive Director in 2013.
In 2018, through the challenges from Hurricane Irma, Misha graduated Class 26 of the Leadership Monroe County. In 2019, Misha joined the City of Key West Tree Commission and became chair in January 2021. You may contact him at mmcrae@keywest.garden

Our board officers

Ed Cunningham, President

Joy Taylor, Vice President

Audrey Thompson, Secretary

Mary Chandler, Treasurer

Karen Frank-Noll | General Manager

Karen Frank-Noll | General Manager

Karen Frank-Noll  is general manager of the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden. She holds a degree in Human Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Being an  environmentalist and avid gardener, along with her extensive experience in non-profit operations, makes Karen a natural fit for the Garden. You may contact her directly at gm@keywest.garden.

Ed Cunningham | Board President

Ed Cunningham | Board President

Key West resident Ed Cunningham is president of the board. He is owner of Tree Priorities, which provides arboriculture management services to homeowners and municipalities. He is a Certified Tree Expert, a member of the Key West Tree Commission board and a park ranger at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Contact him at president@keywest.garden

Contact Us

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