GS Botanic Garden adds new features

Photo by Chris Stokes

Rachel Adams

There are many updates coming to the Georgia Southern University Botanic Garden including a recently completed permeable parking lot, sound wall and a new Grow Zone.

The Botanic Garden, located at 1505 Bland Ave., expands over 11 acres and is home to many native flowers and herbs found around south Georgia. The Gardens are funded by student sustainability fees and donations from the Statesboro community.

For the past couple of years the Botanic Garden staff are working on many updates, including a permeable parking lot, a new entrance building constructed from recycled metals, a sound wall, and a Grow Zone for students.

The permeable parking lot was completed last year. Consisting of gravel and sturdy plastic, it aids with water run-off during storms by absorbing most of the water into the ground and surrounding trees, instead of letting it run off the pavement and into nearby water sources. Also planted in and around the parking lot are 110 trees.

“A typical tree will suck up ninety gallons of water a day,” Carolyn Altman, director of the Botanic Gardens, said. “So the more trees you plant, and the more storm water that gets run off, the more clean, breathable air gets put back in the atmosphere for use.”

The new entrance building is being constructed mostly from materials from the old entrance building, and will sport a wooden roof and a terrace. A brick walkway will expand from the terrace and wind through the gardens, providing additional accessibility.

Additionally, a sound wall on Fair Road is in the works and, when completed, will surround the entirety of the gardens to create a quiet, peaceful environment for visitors. The sound wall is made with a wooden frame and a type of rubber developed by NASA called acoustic block, which is commonly used in construction sites for noise-cancelling purposes. Altman said that the Botanic Gardens are the first to utilize acoustic block in this way.

Also in the works is a “grow zone,” a small collection of beds where students will be able to learn essential gardening skills and take them back to their own homes. Altman said that the grow zone will also serve as a kind of demonstration garden where students and other visitors will be able to attend classes and sample the produce grown in the gardens.

Later this spring, in the grow zone, students will be invited to come to a gardening class and help build hanging green walls.

If a student wants to became even further immersed in the world of gardening and horticulture, he or she can even apply to work at the gardens as a student employee.

“You learn real responsibility, because you’re in charge of the entire garden at times,” Joshua Jones, horticulture manager for the Botanic Garden, said when asked about the advantages of working in the gardens as a student.

Jones said that being a student employee helps that student learn how to slow down and be thorough, because it is very important to be patient when working in a garden so nothing is overlooked.

More information about the Botanic Gardens visit their website.

Rachel Adams, The George-Anne candidate, [email protected]