The Olmsted Network is proud to share that Anne “Dede” Neal Petri, our President & CEO, will receive The Garden Club of America’s 2024 Distinguished Service Medal on April 27, 2024.  Petri was selected “for her tireless service on behalf of plants and the spaces created to showcase them.”  

Each year, the GCA awards national medals to individuals and organizations whose endeavors align with its mission to cultivate the bond among people, plants and the environment. These medals are the highest honor that the GCA bestows and are presented to recipients at the organization’s annual meeting in the spring.  

Nominated by the Georgetown Garden Club, Petri joins a prestigious list of past national award winners, many of whom have advanced the Olmsted legacy — Charles E. Beveridge (2000), Charles Birnbaum (2020), Adrian Benepe (2022), Susan Rademacher (2022), William (Ned) Friedman (2022), and, as of 2024, Sir Peter Crane.  

 “I cannot think of anyone more deserving of recognition, praise and thanks…for her contribution to the American environment and her career of working with altruistic nonprofit and cultural organizations,” said National Medal of Arts winner and GCA medalist Laurie Olin, who supported the application. “One might say, like Olmsted, Sr., she has expanded her vision and brief to see the entire country as a garden in need of tending at the scale of our problems today.”  

Petri was the 42rd president of The Garden Club of America, serving from 2017-2019. During that time, the GCA received the National Audubon Society Rachel Carson Women in Conservation Award. Petri was integral in establishing GCA’s Restoration Initiative, spearheading the revitalization of the Olmsted Woods at the Washington National Cathedral and helping to save the Haupt Garden at the Smithsonian Institution.  

As president of the Olmsted Network, she boldly led the “Olmsted 200: Parks for All People” bicentennial celebration, which catalyzed hundreds of conservancies, government agencies, friends groups and individual volunteers to invest in Olmsted landscapes across the country. In 2022, the American Society of Landscape Architects presented the Olmsted Network with its national Olmsted Medal honoring “environmental leadership, vision and stewardship.”    

Read more about the GCA’s national medals and 2024 awardees here