News & Media

The Jonathan Merage Foundation Commits $100K to the Denver Botanic Gardens’ Science Pyramid to Fund Photovoltaic Panels

Jul 02 2014

The Jonathan Merage Foundation committed a $100,000 investment to the Denver Botanic Gardens that will fund the installation of photovoltaic panels on the newly developed Science Pyramid. This grant is a continuation of the foundation’s ongoing support to the Denver Botanic Gardens, as it was the very first gift in support of making the Science Pyramid a reality in 2010, and has funded educational programming for climate related plant programs.

In addition to harnessing solar energy in the Pyramid, the panels will be an important tool for community education on the benefits of sustainable energy. The Science Pyramid, opening this summer, will be interactive and educational, featuring environmental science programming and exhibits. Visitors will discover global connections between people, plants, environments, and material culture through an interdisciplinary exhibition devoted to understanding steppe regions around the world. A key element of the Science Pyramid will be the Omni-Globe, which was previously enhanced through the support of the Jonathan Merage Foundation, who provided funding for a new wave of climate related plant programs.

The Denver Botanic Gardens continually sets and achieves goals to increase overall green practices. The past year was notable as a drought year in Denver during which the Gardens modeled efficient irrigation techniques and appropriate plant selection. The new Science Pyramid will be no different with key design elements that will contribute to its overall efficiency. In addition to the photovoltaic panels, electro-chromic glass will be utilized throughout, darkening to block unnecessary sunlight that would increase the temperature to trigger HVAC adjustments as needed.

In 2007, the Denver Botanic Gardens adopted a Master Development Plan to ensure the institution’s viability for the future. To date, more than 30 construction projects have come to fruition through the support of partners like the Jonathan Merage Foundation. The Denver Botanic Gardens reports that it achieved its best overall attendance numbers to date in 2013, with more than 879,000 visitors, and its highest membership attainment with more than 30,000 households. These numbers place the Denver Botanic Gardens as the fifth most visited botanic gardens in North America.

On Friday, April 11, Jonathan Merage and foundation team members toured the Science Pyramid construction site. Brian Vogt, Chief Executive Officer of the Denver Botanic Gardens, led the tour as he described the revolutionary approach to the Science Pyramid’s design and the innovative and pioneering ways in which this project was showcasing science and weather.

About the Jonathan Merage Foundation

The Jonathan Merage Foundation, founded by passionate young philanthropist, Jonathan Merage, focuses on advancing the study of, education, and activities surrounding science and severe weather. The foundation seeks to invest in innovative and pioneering approaches to further our understanding of the world around us.

About Denver Botanic Gardens

Green inside and out, Denver Botanic Gardens began in 1951 and is considered one of the top botanical gardens in the United States and a pioneer in water conservation. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Gardens’ living collections encompass specimens from the tropics to the tundra, showcasing a plant palette chosen to thrive in Colorado’s semi-arid climate. The Gardens is a dynamic, 24-acre urban oasis in the heart of the city, offering unforgettable opportunities to flourish with unique garden experiences for the whole family – as well as world-class education and plant conservation research programs. Additional sites extend this experience throughout the Front Range: Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield is a 750-acre native plant refuge with an active farm in Jefferson County; Mount Goliath is a high-altitude trail and interpretive site on the Mount Evans Scenic Byway. For more information, visit us online at