2015 NGC Award of Excellence

Congratulations to Our Winners!

ST. LOUIS (May 18, 2015)—National Garden Clubs Inc., one of the nation’s most-recognized nonprofits and largest volunteer gardening organization in the world, recently announced the winners for 2015 of its highest honor: the Award of Excellence. The winners, who were recognized at NGC’s 86th annual convention in Louisville, Ky., include Ken Nedimyer, founder and president of the Coral Restoration Foundation in Key Largo, Fla., Dr. Paul Cappiello, executive director of Yew Dell Botanical Gardens in Crestwood, Ky., and Brian Vogt, chief executive officer of Denver Botanic Gardens in Colorado.

“Each year, NGC’s Award of Excellence recognizes exceptional individuals, organizations or institutions that have made significant contributions to their communities in such areas as environmental and civic responsibility, conservation, community beautification and promoting the love of gardening,” said Sandra Robinson, president, National Garden Clubs Inc. “By recognizing these deserving award recipients from different parts of the nation, NGC hopes to educate and inspire others in communities coast-to-coast.”

Dr. Paul Cappiello

NGC 2015 Award of Excellence Winner Dr. Paul CappielloNominated by the Garden Club of Kentucky Inc., Cappiello is an educator, writer, garden designer and gardener who guided the development of Yew Dell Botanical Gardens www.yewdellgardens.org, from a 33-acre private estate and commercial nursery into a public garden that has earned national acclaim for horticultural excellence. The prolific author of over 100 articles in news and popular press to industry and academic journals and co-author of the book “Dogwoods; The Genus Cornus,” Cappiello is a popular lecturer known internationally for his work on the selection, introduction and evaluation of new ornamental plants for the landscape. In conjunction with his role of nearly 15 years as executive director at Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, he serves as an adjunct associate professor of horticulture at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. The Gardens is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Preservation Partner Project of the Garden Conservancy, a national nonprofit dedicated to saving the nation’s most exceptional gardens.

Ken Nedimyer

NGC 2015 Award of Excellence Winner Ken NedimyerNominated by the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs Inc., Nedimyer, an award-winning research scientist and deep sea diver specializing in coral reef studies, has been recognized widely for his conservation efforts in Florida and the Caribbean. In 2012, he was honored globally as a CNN Hero. Nedimyer also was recognized in 2014 as Sea Hero of the Year by SCUBA Diving Magazine, and a Conservation Hero by the Disney Conservation Fund. He also was featured in the January 2015 issue of National Geographic Magazine. In addition to managing the Coral Restoration Foundation www.coralrestoration.org, which grows several different species of threatened and endangered corals in offshore nurseries, including staghorn and elkhorn corals. Nedimyer and his team have developed, and are implementing, an ambitious five-year plan to grow and transplant 300,000 staghorn and elkhorn colonies throughout the Florida Keys–the largest effort of its kind in Florida and the Caribbean. Nedimyer also is active in conservation and fishery management issues in Florida.

Brian Vogt

NGC 2015 Award of Excellence Winner Brian VogtNominated by the Colorado Federation of Garden Clubs Inc., Vogt, a native of Colorado, is a writer, popular speaker, artist, gardener and hiker, whose civic involvement and many roles in community leadership and public service in Colorado and the city of Denver spans over 25 years. He serves as chief executive officer at Denver Botanic Gardens www.botanicgardens.org, which offers a unique garden visitor-friendly experience through world-class education and plant conservation research programs. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the 24-acre Gardens is considered a pioneer in water conservation and its living collections encompass specimens from the tropics to the tundra, showcasing a plant palette chosen to thrive in Colorado’s semi-arid climate. Vogt has been instrumental in overseeing the garden’s historic $73 million capital campaign and subsequent build-out of its master development plan, including the addition of two new structures–the Science Pyramid and the outdoor Hive Garden Bistro–as well as the Ellipse garden, the rooftop Mordecai Children’s Garden, a new parking complex, the Bonfils-Stanton Visitor Center and the Greenhouse Complex. Situated in the middle of the Mile High City, Denver Botanic Gardens was one of the first gardens in the nation to emphasize native plants and to champion environmentally responsible practices, such as water conservation and the biological control of pests.


Click here for the NGC Award of Excellence Application and Rules

For more information about the NGC Award of Excellence, contact:
Mary Warshauer,
NGC Award of Excellence Chairman