Smith Middle School – Plants: Inside Out!
Smith Middle School recently visited The Gardens to take part in its latest middle school addition to Discovery Field Trips, “Plants: Inside Out!” Docents included Karon Decker, Brandon Franks and Carroll Wilson. To learn more about how your class can take part in Discovery Field Trips, visit www.bbgardens.org/fieldtrips.
Discovery Field Trips
On Thursday, first graders gathered in the Dr. George Washington Carver Garden for the field trip of the same name.
2015 Junior Guild Gala Pre-Party
On Thursday, October 1, attendees celebrated the Junior Guild Gala Pre-Party at gallery 1930 in English Village before making their way to Gala in The Gardens, part of the annual Antiques at The Gardens event at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Wine and champagne for the event were provided by Pinnacle Imports and appetizers were provided by Mariee Ami.
Mackin and George Thompson
Louise and Billy Pritchard
Ashley and Turner Inscoe and Elizabeth Read
Barbara Blackburn and Patrick Mulligan
Lexi Holdbrooks and Bob Blackburn
Marguerite Gray and Mason Morris
Ellen and Stephen Faust
Tyler and Brooke Wahl, Katie Hicks, Jacob Dorsett and Jimmy Laughlin
Jeff and Eleanor Tobert, Mackin Thompson, Jessica McKinney
Elizabeth Poindexter, Marshall Wood, Melissa Wood
Courtney Larson and Emily Wood Bowron
Discovery Field Trips begin for 2015
On September 21, a new year of Discovery Field Trips got underway. Birmingham schoolchildren explored many of The Gardens’ collections, including the Dr. George Washington Carver Garden, where they learned about crop rotation and about how peanuts and cotton are grown. Each year, Birmingham Botanical Gardens provides a free, curriculum-based science education to approximately 10,000 Birmingham students through Discovery Field Trips. Those educational opportunities are made possible by the generosity of donors, sponsors, members and fundraisers like Spring and Fall Plant Sales and Antiques at The Gardens.
On Friday, students gathers with teach Kelly Viall for a two-hour session teaching all of the basics of sushi making from rice to sauces, shopping, serving raw fish confidently at home and more. Check out the photos!
A Close-Up on Carnivorous Plants
by: Plant Adventures Program Specialist Brooke McMinn
A new adventure we began undertaking in the fall of 2014 is now complete! As of this summer, visitors to The Gardens are now able to see a conveniently located representation of a pitcher plant bog, or savanna, in the Arrington Plant Adventure Zone. A pitcher plant bog is a unique habitat created by an unusual combination of porous, infertile, strongly acidic soils, a high water table and an open tree canopy. A larger bog of similar type can be seen in our Kaul Wildflower Garden, but this new installation is part of our “Close-ups on Collections” program which features different elements of our larger garden collections in the easily accessible Plant Adventure Zone garden.
As part of our native plant conservation efforts at The Gardens, this new planting showcases several species of Sarracenia, a genus of carnivorous (meat-eating) plants. Sarracenia alabamensis, also known as the Alabama canebrake pitcher plant, is endemic to Alabama, meaning it does not naturally grow anywhere else in the world. S. alabamensis is classified as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Many of the other included species are also listed as threatened or endangered, each exhibiting their own special variations on the characteristic traits of the genus.
Pitcher plants are stunningly beautiful and grotesquely intriguing at the same time. The attractive venation, appealing aroma and unusual shape of the modified leaves lure unsuspecting insects into their depths. Once trapped inside a leaf, parts of the insect are dissolved in a small puddle called a phytotelma. The resulting solution of amino acids is then absorbed by the plant as food. This carnivorous modification is thought to result from the almost negligible nutrient content of the soils in which these remarkable plants grow. Other carnivorous plants which might be found in a pitcher plant bog, such as Dionaea muscipula (Venus flytrap) and Drosera sp. (sundews) are also included, along with an array of non-carnivorous native plants. If you are interested in touring the Plant Adventure Zone or would like more information, please contact Plant Adventure Zone Program Specialist Brooke McMinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205.414.3914.
Lunch & Learn:
On Wednesday, July 22, Libby Rich hosted a Lunch and Learn at The Gardens. “The Understory” taught participants how to love the shade and the plants that grow there. Learn more about Libby at her site, www.libbysplantodyssey.com.
Lunch and Learn continues throughout the summer at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Learn about upcoming sessions at www.bbgardens.org/classes.
Wilds to Woodlands
Saturday, Birmingham Botanical Gardens hosted the Birmingham Zoo and Ernie, a 20-year-old gopher tortoise. Ernie plays a very important role in the wild. The gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) is a keystone species in his native habitat, which means Ernie’s ability to burrow tunnels in the sandy soil of Alabama’s longleaf pine forest provides shelter for over 300 other species.
The longleaf pine forest ecosystem of Alabama made up the majority of the Coastal Plain physiographic section of Alabama, which covers much of the lower portion of the state. It was excluded only from the Black Belt and northwest portions of the state. North of the Black Belt, longleaf pine forest could be found on dry ridgetops in the Piedmont, Valley and Ridge, Cumberland Plateau and Highland Rim physiographic sections as far north as Marshall, Etowah and DeKalb counties. These ridgetop longleaf forests are typically called mountain longleaf forests. Native to the southeastern United States, the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) grows from Virginia to Texas, inhabiting a variety of sites from very dry to seasonally wet areas. Its original range has been shapely reduced because of agriculture, harvesting and fire suppression.
Because of the dramatic reduction to the longleaf pine ecosystems, the Gopher Tortoise is now listed as a “threatened” species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
To learn more about upcoming collaborations between Birmingham Botanical Gardens and the Birmingham Zoo in the “Wilds to Woodlands” program, visit www.bbgardens.org/weekends.
Urban Farm Camp, Zoo Day
A new camp for 2015, Urban Farm Camp teaches children where their food comes from and how to grow it. During the week long, full-day camp, campers visited our neighbors at the Birmingham Zoo. Check out the photos!
Plant It, Pick It, Drink It
On Thursday, Clair McLafferty hosted Junior Board of Birmingham Botanical Gardens for “Plant It, Pick It, Drink It.” Great evening in the Arrington Plant Adventure Zone!