Three finalists have been chosen by the GCA Founders Fund committee. These descriptions of their projects and photos will give you the scope of these activities. Three awards will be granted: one $30,000 finalist award and two $10,000 runner-up awards. Each SLGC club member is asked to make one selection (see below to vote). Date for submission is March 25 for submission to GCA by April 1; SLGC’s one vote is reflective of the majority vote for the three projects. Winners will be notified at the May GCA Annual Meeting in Boston.
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Located near the city of Winchester, this 25-acre preserve is an educational and recreational source for the community and those visiting the Shenandoah Valley. Found within this Fen are more than 300 plant species native to Virginia and only two that grow nowhere else in the state. Calcareous muck fens take over ten thousand years to form naturally and due to their limestone bedrock, low acidity and high nutrient level are one of the rarest natural communities in the United States. The Founders Fund grant will help ensure that the Wetlands Preserve is preserved as a place for children to learn, families to enjoy and for rare plants and the animals that depend on those plants continue to thrive.
Named after the first American female botanist (1724 – 1769), the Jane Colden Native Woodland Garden and Animal Habitat will be a part of the Trailside Museums and Zoo located within Bear Mountain State Park, New York. Open year round, Trailside attracts a diverse community of over 100,000 from urban New York and elsewhere. The nature trail pioneered outdoor education and now benefits hikers and day visitors. Children come in many school and camper groups, including inner-city youth and others at risk for “nature deficit disorder.” Half of the 7,000 summer group campers come from homeless shelters. Funds from the Founders Fund will be used to enhance Trailside signage and website and to develop the garden and interpretive visitor materials.
Transforming 460 acres of deeply scarred terrain, severely damaged by coal mining and overrun by invasive species, the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden (PBG) has been able to reforest slopes, create trails, develop open meadows and plant gardens. Part of their over-arching plan includes the creation of a sensory garden specifically designed to address the needs of persons with physical and sensory integration challenges. The Sniff and Savor Garden will join a handful of public gardens responding to the challenges of autism spectrum disorder and will feature raised-beds where every plant is either fragrant, edible or both. Visitors will be encouraged to taste, touch and smell while introducing current and next-generation gardeners to tools and methods supporting sustainable gardening with compost bins, rain barrels and watering cans for visitor use. Founders Fund monies will permit underwriting of permanent garden elements and plant installation leading to new educational programming opportunities. The PBG will maintain the completed garden in its annual operating budget.
*For more information and photos, please the the GCA Bulletin: Winter 2019, pp. 41 – 47.
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