Mission + Vision

Bartram’s Garden is a public park and 50-acre National Historic Landmark, operated by the non-profit John Bartram Association in cooperation with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and welcoming an estimated 100,000 visitors each year.

In December 2020, the John Bartram Association Board of Directors adopted the following vision and mission after a seven-month process led by a committee comprised of Board and staff:

Bartram’s Garden is a place and an aspirational vision for the future, where:

  • Public spaces are centers of welcome, respite, and celebration.
  • Nature and the environment are accessible and inviting to everyone.
  • People decide what happens in their own communities.
  • Historic places seek to repair our fraught legacies.

The mission of the John Bartram Association is to create equitable relationships among people and nature through immersive, community-driven experiences that activate the Bartram legacy, Garden, and House, on land and on the Schuylkill River, in Southwest Philadelphia.

Strategic Plan

In March 2017, the Board approved River Garden Vision 2025, an ambitious strategic and master site plan that establishes five priorities for a sustainable future:

  1. Horticulture: Carrying on our botanical heritage, leading the way in the propagation of the Bartram plant collection, and reestablishing healthy land and river ecosystems to showcase best practices in conservation and watershed management.
  2. History: Balancing preservation with access, preserving and protecting our historic and natural resources to the highest level of stewardship, while demonstrating the relevance of the Bartram legacy in a 21st century urban riverfront community.
  3. Community and Education: Engaging and empowering our stakeholders through site-based educational programs and personal experiences that draw inspiration from the Bartram traditions of curiosity, natural wonder, and self-learning.
  4. Agriculture and Food Sovereignty: Foster cultural exchange in our neighborhood using our roots in farming to explore food culture, deepen our community’s relationship with the land, their food, and each other, providing an inclusive and welcoming place for people to develop tools for self-reliance through food sovereignty.
  5. Enduring Sustainability: Sharing a love of nature with generations to come by building capacity and leadership through collaboration, innovation, and the advancement of our vision as a premier urban river garden.


2020 Annual Report

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River Garden Vision 2025 Strategic Plan

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