Science Happening at Selby Gardens Daily

Letters

BY MARIANNE MCCOMB SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY JAN 2, 2021

As Vice Chair of Selby Gardens’ Board of Trustees and a close neighbor, I am passionate about Selby Gardens. Mr. Bill Furst’s claim that there is no scientific or educational work happening at Selby Gardens is baffling, considering Selby Gardens is a Smithsonian Affiliate and is world-renowned for the study of air plants, while hosting hundreds of educational lectures and classes for all ages. As far as I know, he has refused to do his due diligence to truly learn about and understand the research and educational work that Selby Gardens does. Instead, he appears to have relied on hearsay from a few individuals who oppose Selby Gardens and their perception of how it operates.

At face value it may seem that Mr. Furst is simply doing his job; but if that were the case, he surely would be holding Selby Gardens to the same tax standards he has applied to similar nonprofits, such as Mote Marine Aquarium. If his desire to tax 100% of Selby Gardens’ property is allowed to stand, it will have significant implications for all nonprofits in Sarasota, nonprofits across the state, as well as worldwide plant science and conservation. I invite Mr. Furst and his attorneys to visit Selby Gardens to learn about the important scientific and educational work that happens there daily. Until he makes that visit and seeks to truly understand our mission, I can’t see how he can be impartial and fair, a key responsibility of his oath as a public official.

Marianne McComb is vice chairwoman of the Marie Selby Botanical Garden Board of Trustees.

Photo: A scientist works in Selby Gardens' molecular lab.

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