The President’s Council on Inclusion and Diversity (PCID) at Norfolk Botanical Garden (NBG) is committed to celebrating and promoting diversity. Each year the committee organizes the WPA Garden Heritage Celebration (photo below) to honor the 220 African American men and women who planted the first flowers at the Garden. The PCID Scholarship will be awarded for educational pursuits of underrepresented minority students in green industries or related fields including, but not limited to garden cultivation and management, Environmental Sciences, Botany, Horticulture, the Environment and Sustainability Studies, Agriculture and Landscape.

Eligible applicants must be accepted or currently enrolled in an educational program dedicated to a field of study in a green industry or related field. The PCID Scholarship will be awarded to the student or students who best exemplify the spirit and character of the 220 Original Gardeners who planted the Norfolk Botanical Garden described below.

The recipient(s) will receive a $1000 scholarship each academic year for up to 4 years of study.

In partnership


The Original Gardeners

Since 1938, the Norfolk Botanical Garden has been a symbol of resilience and triumph.  The Garden started with 30 acres of wetlands and through the Works Progress Administration, the Original Gardeners planted a garden of color that has only continued to grow in beauty.  None of that would have been possible if not for the 200 African American women and 20 African American men who worked arduously through all types of weather and physical hardship to convert those wetlands.  Laboring from dawn until dusk, the gardeners cleared dense vegetation and carried the equivalent of 150 truckloads of dirt by hand to build a levee for the lake.  They battled snakes, mosquitoes, ticks, and poison ivy.  In less than a year, a section of the trees, briers, vines and underbrush had been cleared and readied for planting, using only pickaxes, hoes, shovels, and wheelbarrows. By March of 1939, four thousand azaleas, two thousand rhododendrons, several thousand miscellaneous shrubs and trees and one hundred bushels of daffodils had been planted.  The Original Gardeners cleared 75 acres of land and created a city garden they would not have access to due to segregation laws and sanctions. Today, Norfolk Botanical Garden includes 175 acres, with more than 60 themed gardens and is an historical landmark due to the 220 Original Gardeners participation in the Works Progress Administration program. 


PCID Scholarship winners will exhibit the tenacity, spirit and character of the Original Gardeners.

Application Process

Click HERE to access the PCID Scholarship Form

Completed application submissions may be emailed to or mailed to the following address:

Norfolk Botanical Garden
Attn:  PCID Scholarship Committee
6700 Azalea Garden Road
Norfolk, VA 25318

Completed submissions must include the following:

    • A completed Application Form
    • One (1) Letter of Recommendation from a faculty or community member
    • A High School Transcript for a high school senior or a College Transcript for current college students
    • One (1) Essay Response

Application Deadline

Completed Application Submissions must be received by April 5, 2024.  The PCID Scholarship will be distributed at the NBG Annual Heritage Celebration.  Please note, incomplete applications will NOT be considered. 


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