Sandy Shapiro, Executive Director of Miami Beach Botanical Garden - Q&A with Sandy Shapiro

Sandy Shapiro, Executive Director of Miami Beach Botanical Garden - Q&A with Sandy Shapiro

The MBVCA chatted with the Executive Director of the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens to talk about the nuances and changes in tourism and the new sustainability practices being implemented across the city of Miami Beach.

  1. Tell us about the Miami Beach Botanical Garden and what visitors can expect to experience?

The Garden is situated in the middle of the City, just 2 blocks north of our famed pedestrian mall, Lincoln Road.  Our flowering tree canopy shades visitors and the lush tropical foliage gives way to orchids and masses of deep green leaves of all shapes and sizes.  The plant collections provide the visitor an intimate look at things they may have only viewed in a glass house.  Our habitat is a refuge for wildlife, from butterflies to turtles and koi- inviting all species to relax and regroup. The garden is free to visit and produces a schedule of special events for all ages, year round.

2. Sustainable practices in tourism are gaining momentum, what are some tips you can share for visitors that come to Miami Beach?

Beach time! Use reef safe sunscreen because we are surrounded by precious ecosystems in the water – keeping harmful chemicals out of our waters is something any beach go-er can do to help keep MB sustainable.  Say no to the drink stirrer and plastic straw!  The sand becomes littered with these useless items which then roll back into the ocean.  Take responsibly for your trash. 

3. Are there emerging practices you’re proud to see being implemented on a national or local level?  

Green building ordinances are gaining momentum and we’re thrilled to see our city leading the charge in sustainable design.

4. What made you start the community compost project, and can people get involved?

Every gardener knows a garden is a byproduct of good soil and our soil happens to be a byproduct of our community! Our community compost program started in early 2016 – it allows any resident in the city to save and drop off the food waste at the hub that we then turn into organic, fertile soil that we use to feed our plants and sell to the public to do the same. It allows residents to partake in sustainable living practices that they may not otherwise be able to living in an apartment or condo. Our mission is to educate the public on sustainable gardening practices and compost is the perfect community builder. Contact for more information or if you want to help make soil!

5. What are some must-visit spots on Miami Beach that "green thumb" travelers should have on their itinerary while they’re in town?

  • The City of MB just came out with a Rising above Kayak tour available on their new app – it’s a self-guided tour on the water with all the initiative the city are activities working on for rising seas like living shorelines.
  • Indulge in South Florida’s natural areas – get out on Biscayne Bay or the North Beach Open Space park! Beautiful maritime canopy with mature dune plantings.
  • Baobab trees by the Bass Art Museum are beautiful.

6. How is Miami Beach like no other place in the world?

Miami Beach is known globally as a glamorous resort destination whose population swells at the height of the winter season.  Take a beach walk and listen to multiple languages of smiling and often sunburnt tourists.  We each contribute to the vacation of their dreams by ensuring the City is beautiful, safe and clean. Our economy benefits from the tourist income, attracting everyone from art lovers to cruise passengers.  I travel all over the world, it never fails how grateful I am when crossing the causeway to call this stunning City home.

About Miami Beach Visitor & Convention Authority

The MBVCA is a seven member authority, appointed by the City of Miami Beach Commission, with the goal of encouraging, developing and promoting the image of Miami Beach locally, nationally and internationally as a vibrant community and superb tourist destination. To this end, the MBVCA strategically focuses its funding investments in a balanced manner, fostering outstanding existing programs, stimulating new activities, and encouraging partnerships. The MBVCA is committed to a careful, long-term plan for allocation of resources to build the uniqueness of Miami Beach as ones of the world's greatest communities and tourism destinations.

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