The Gardens Blog

Carver artifacts on display at Earth Day at The Gardens

published: 04/19/2017

Carver artifacts on display at Earth Day at The Gardens

Alabama's longest-running Earth Day celebration returns to Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Saturday from 11-4 p.m. The Gardens will be celebrating the life and work of Dr. George Washington Carver and for the occasion, Tuskegee University has loaned a portion of their Carver collection for viewing. Among the collection of artifacts that can be seen on Saturday are a meteorite that landed in Tuskegee in 1940, photographs, letters and a microscope used by Dr. Carver.

Known for his introduction of the peanut and sweet potato as an alternative crop for cotton growers, George Washington Carver is regarded as one of the most influential scientists in American History. Carver looked to nature to inspire his work in the lab as well as artistically and they often times intersected in creative but practical ways.

There will also be family activities and exhibitors, a photo booth and live music.

Earth Day also welcomes a collaboration with the Birmingham Zoo's Party for the Planet. The Cahaba Road entrance to The Gardens will be open, and visitors are encouraged to enjoy both attractions. Visitors to the Zoo can receive $20 off a Birmingham Botanical Gardens Family Membership, and visitors to The Gardens can receive 50% off an Individual Membership at the Zoo.

Before the Earth Day at The Gardens event begins, KultureCity will formally kick off its partnership with The Gardens in the Arrington Plant Adventure Zone from 10-noon. The partnership will make The Gardens the first sensory inclusive botanical garden in the nation.

Admission to the event at The Gardens is free.

To learn more about all of the educational opportunities The Gardens has to offer, we encourage you to visit our website, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on Instagram. You can subscribe to the award-winning Dirt E-Lert, our bi-weekly e-newsletter, by simply texting BBGARDENS to 22828.

About Birmingham Botanical Gardens

A facility of the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, the beauty and value of Birmingham Botanical Gardens are the result of a successful public/private partnership between the City of Birmingham and the nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. In 2016, Birmingham Botanical Gardens was named as one of the top three free attractions in America by USA Today. Education programs run year round and more than 10,000 school children on average enjoy free science-curriculum based field trips annually. The Gardens is open daily, offering free admission to more than 350,000 yearly visitors.

KultureCity and The Gardens partner for Earth Day celebration

published: 04/11/2017

KultureCity and The Gardens partner for Earth Day celebration

by: Plant Adventures Coordinator Brooke McMinn

I have this friend. Let's call her Em. Em has a child with severe autism. She pours super-hero like amounts of energy into working with her child for small but powerful achievements, like saying a new word, or making it through a shopping trip. Things like that seem minor to many of us, but to Em and so many other families like hers, they are significant milestones requiring patience and persistence. Em also devotes her time to advocating for her son and other children living with autism. That advocacy is how I came to learn of an organization called KultureCity and how they help organizations like ours be more accommodating to families like Em's.

Who is KultureCity?

KultureCity, one of USA Today's 2016 Top Nonprofits in the U.S., is a Birmingham based, impact driven nonprofit focused on helping autistic individuals realize their potential by providing tangible help and equipping businesses and the community to relate to children with autism and their families. "The KultureCity Sensory Friendly Initiative was born out of the desire to help businesses and community organizations better understand the needs of individuals with autism and other sensory needs. The goal is to allow these individuals the ability to see and experience all the things a community has to offer, without being overwhelmed by everything going on around them." - kulturecity.org

What are KultureCity and The Gardens doing together?

In 2016, KultureCity has provided The Gardens with an evidence-based sensory training program to help increase the knowledge base of our staff and volunteers. The training included an initial assessment of staff knowledge relating to autistic individuals, in-person training for staff by a licensed occupational therapist, access to training videos to be used with new or seasonal staff and volunteers and modification recommendations. KultureCity will also provide yearly follow up for training purposes.

Following the staff training, KultureCity performed a site assessment for The Gardens. Their assessment included a facilities walk-through, programs evaluation, intake form assessment and further modification recommendations related to these topics. The site assessment included recommendations for placements of co-branded signage which will convey our partnership to visitors to The Gardens upon their arrival at main entrances and designate "Quiet Space" and "Headphone Zone" areas throughout. The Gardens will also receive recognition on the KultureCity website (kulturecity.org) as a sensory friendly partner organization.

What happens next?

On Saturday, April 22, as part of our annual Earth Day at The Gardens celebration, The Gardens will host a Sensory Friendly Family Event to officially introduce its' partnership with KultureCity. Families will be provided with updated maps of The Gardens grounds indicating the locations of our designated "Quiet Spaces" and "Headphone Zones" to better plan a walk through our collections. Additionally and as requested KultureCity will provide grab-and-go sensory bags for families to borrow during their visit to The Gardens. These sensory bags will contain items like a fidget toy, a non-verbal communication card and noise-cancelling headphones. Come join us to learn how The Gardens and KultureCity are working together to allow individuals with autism and other sensory needs, as well as their families, the ability to see and experience all that The Gardens has to offer.

For more information about KultureCity please visit kulturecity.org. Earth Day at The Gardens is Alabama's longest running Earth Day celebration. This year's event will be on April 22 from 11-4 p.m. and will honor the legacy of Dr. George Washington Carver. Admission is free. For more information about Alabama's longest running Earth Day celebration, visit www.bbgardens.org/earthday.


About Birmingham Botanical Gardens

A facility of the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, the beauty and value of Birmingham Botanical Gardens are the result of a successful public/private partnership between the City of Birmingham and the nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. In 2016, Birmingham Botanical Gardens was named as one of the top three free attractions in America by USA Today. Education programs run year round and more than 10,000 school children on average enjoy free science-curriculum based field trips annually. The Gardens is open daily, offering free admission to more than 350,000 yearly visitors.

 

Girl Scouts maintain Monarch Waystation at The Gardens

published: 03/30/2017

Girl Scouts maintain Monarch Waystation at The Gardens

Girl Scout Troop #31017 at Birmingham Botanical Gardens maintains a Monarch Waystation. A Monarch Waystation is a "site which provides milkweeds, nectar sources and shelter needed to sustain monarch butterflies [Danaus plexippus] as they migrate through North America." Official Monarch Waystations are certified and registered by an organization called Monarch Watch which is a cooperative network of students, teachers, volunteers and researchers dedicated to the study of the Monarch butterfly.

Why do we need Monarch Waystations? Every year in the fall there are millions of monarch butterflies (up to 100 million) which migrate all the way from the northern United States and even Canada down to California and Mexico where they will overwinter until weather conditions are suitable to return north in the spring. This "monarch migration" is among the greatest natural wonders of the world! But every year, the butterfly numbers decline as their habitat is threatened and reduced throughout North America. Their habitat is formed by a specific plant group in the genus Asclepias called milkweeds. Monarch butterflies depend on milkweed plants as breeding grounds during the spring and summer. Without them they would not be able to produce the consecutive generations which ultimately culminate in the fall migration. Monarch larvae depend on Milkweeds as their sole host plant, consuming their leaves which are poisonous to other animals and, in turn, cause the monarchs to become poisonous to predators. Adult monarchs depend on the nectar from milkweed flowers to sustain them throughout their long journey. Alarmingly, milkweeds and other important nectar sources are in decline due to human activities such as development and the use of herbicides on roadsides, pastures and croplands. Monarch Watch estimates that "development (subdivisions, factories, shopping centers, etc.) in the U.S. is consuming habitats for monarchs and other wildlife at a rate of 6,000 acres per day - that's 2.2 million acres each year, the area of Delaware and Rhode Island combined!"

Without major efforts to restore milkweed plants in as many locations as possible, the monarch population is doomed to decline to even lower levels, possibly to be lost entirely. This is where Monarch Watch and the Monarch Waystation program come in. Monarch Waystations create, conserve and protect monarch habitats along roadsides, in home gardens, at businesses, schools, nature centers, parks and even unused plots of land an attempt to offset the loss of milkweeds and nectar sources. Creating and maintaining a Monarch Waystation has allowed The Gardens to contribute to monarch conservation and help to assure the preservation of the species and spectacular phenomenon that is the monarch migration. But The Gardens didn't do it alone.

The Gardens of Inverness are owed credit for taking the initiative to begin the certification process for the Pollinator Display Area at The Gardens by working in partnership with Girl Scout Troop #31017. The numerous contributions of the Gardens of Inverness included educating scouts on invasive plant species, working with the scouts to weed the existing garden area in preparation for planting, selecting and purchasing seeds, educating scouts on proper seeding techniques, donating garden gloves for the scouts, purchasing and awarding Native Plants Badges for scouts through the National Garden Clubs 'Nurture the Earth: Plant Natives' program, participating in The Gardens' 2016 Butterfly Awareness Day and even spreading the word about our partnership at the National Garden Club District III meeting and state-wide Garden Club Convention. Thanks to partnerships with outstanding organizations like Gardens of Inverness and the Girl Scouts, everyone can have a greater impact within the community and on the world around us.


About Birmingham Botanical Gardens

A facility of the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, the beauty and value of Birmingham Botanical Gardens are the result of a successful public/private partnership between the City of Birmingham and the nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. In 2016, Birmingham Botanical Gardens was named as one of the top three free attractions in America by USA Today. Education programs run year round and more than 10,000 school children on average enjoy free science-curriculum based field trips annually. The Gardens is open daily, offering free admission to more than 350,000 yearly visitors.

 

GATE students display art inspired by The Gardens

published: 03/28/2017

GATE students display art inspired by The Gardens

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is currently displaying original works inspired by visits to The Gardens for a Discovery Field Trip made possible by Junior League of Birmingham and a tour of The Archives and the Japanese Garden Collection led by Library Archivist Jason Kirby.

Students from Birmingham City Schools' Gifted and Talented Enrichment Program created mixed media art and written reflections. GATE Teacher Timothy Hogan said, "No other venue provides the enrichment and hands-on experience such as Discovery Field Trips. The children are simply buzzing when we return to the school from The Gardens, so as an outlet they have the opportunity to artistically reflect on the journey. Using media including water colors and oil pastels, the children express what meant the most to them from their visit. I hope the art work begins to show how much Birmingham Botanical Gardens means to my Birmingham City students."

The Garden Center and the Student Art Inspiration Display is open Monday-Sunday from 8-5 p.m. For the opportunity to display your students' original works related to The Gardens, please contact Education Program Coordinator Ellen Hardy at 205.414.3953 or ehardy@bbgardens.org.

Discovery Field Trips are made possible by events like Spring Plant Sale. Spring Plant Sale is the largest sale of its kind in Birmingham, and it returns to Brookwood Village April 7-9. On Friday, April 7, the public sale is open from 9-7 p.m. On Saturday, April 8, the public sale is open from 9-5 p.m. And on Sunday, April 9, the public sale is open from 11-3 p.m. Admission to the public sale is free.


About Birmingham Botanical Gardens

A facility of the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, the beauty and value of Birmingham Botanical Gardens are the result of a successful public/private partnership between the City of Birmingham and the nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. In 2016, Birmingham Botanical Gardens was named as one of the top three free attractions in America by USA Today. Education programs run year round and more than 10,000 school children on average enjoy free science-curriculum based field trips annually. The Gardens is open daily, offering free admission to more than 350,000 yearly visitors.

 

Huffman Academy students enjoy Discovery Field Trips

published: 03/24/2017

Huffman Academy students enjoy Discovery Field Trips

Docents Mary Marcoux and Dicki Arn guided second graders as they discovered the wonderful world of plants and how pollinators help flowers make new seeds. They also learned how to propagate plants and took them back to their school to grow. Docents Carol Washington and Kaycee McElroy of UAB Teach guided students through the Tropical Rainforest in the Conservatory at The Gardens, teaching the students where some of their favorite foods come from and some amazing plant adaptations!

Are you interested in scheduling Discovery Field Trips for your class? Contact Education Program Coordinator Ellen Hardy at 205.414.3953 or at ehardy@bbgardens.org.

Discovery Field Trips are made possible by The Gardens' largest fundraisers, like Antiques at The Gardens, held each year in October, and Spring Plant Sale, which returns to Brookwood Village April 7-9. This year's sale is open to the public on April 7 from 9-7 p.m., April 8 from 9-5 p.m. and on April 9 from 11-3 p.m. Shoppers will have more than 100,000 plants to choose from, and they'll be able to get expert advice from the volunteers that nurtured the selection. Admission to the public sale is free.


About Birmingham Botanical Gardens

A facility of the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, the beauty and value of Birmingham Botanical Gardens are the result of a successful public/private partnership between the City of Birmingham and the nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. In 2016, Birmingham Botanical Gardens was named as one of the top three free attractions in America by USA Today. Education programs run year round and more than 10,000 school children on average enjoy free science-curriculum based field trips annually. The Gardens is open daily, offering free admission to more than 350,000 yearly visitors.

 

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