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What is The Darwin Project About?

A Common Ground for Looking Forward

As historic Boston continues its ongoing process of evolving and renewing itself, we are presented with a rare opportunity - a space in the heart of the City – to continue our tradition of leadership in a new way … The Darwin Project.

The Darwin Project is a collaborative process to create the vision, to design, and to build Boston’s Botanical Garden and Conservation Learning Center on four acres of land on the Rose Kennedy Greenway located at the heart of downtown Boston.

A beautiful outdoor gateway garden and unifying landscapes will welcome you to the site. The Botanical Garden will be enclosed in a spectacular 21st Century expression of a classic glass conservatory. It will form an urban oasis where residents and visitors can linger on cold winter days and where school children can touch and learn about plants and animals.

The Conservation Learning Center will be an integral part of the Botanical Garden and build upon Boston’s rich history of exploration, learning and innovation.

We will create a common ground where visitors of all ages can convene to learn about the vast diversity of life on earth and the challenges to its conservation; to understand our relationships with nature and our connections with people and places all over the world; and to explore our individual and collective roles in shaping an ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially just future for our global community.

The Botanical Garden and Conservation Learning Center will be an integral link in downtown Boston’s campus of cultural resources that dot the ribbon of the Greenway and enliven the edges of Boston Harbor. It will be an important national and international destination and a great place simply to enjoy living in the City.

The Massachusetts Horticultural Society/Garden Under Glass, Inc. Board of Directors and the Boston Planning Institute Project Directors have the honor and challenge of overseeing the development of this cultural institution worthy of the extraordinary public investment in the infrastructure lying beneath the Darwin Project site.


Learning for All Generations

“If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For in the final analysis, our most basic link is that we all inhabit this small planet.”
                                              John F. Kennedy 1963

Learning programs for children will bring them into hands-on contact with all forms of life, and help them to have fun in understanding the importance of conserving biodiversity, and in developing a “green planet” personal and business philosophy.

We will create an outdoor leadership program easily accessible to Boston’s diverse population of children and adolescents. Nature education, animal and plant care, and leadership development will be the focus for building self-confidence and a sense of responsibility for themselves, each other, and their global environment.

The Darwin Project also will try to reconnect adults with the imagination and freedom of expression we came by naturally as children, but may have lost as the challenges of our fast paced lives and work have filled in those spaces.

We also will create a place for interchange among scientists and an opportunity to create a common language for scientists to share information and ideas with the public.

The Botanical garden will serve as the visible core for awakening our curiosity to learn more about the natural world.

The Darwin Project will promote collaborations with the Boston Harbor Islands National Park – a living laboratory of biodiversity and discovery, and with other neighboring cultural institutions focused on youth and the environment.

We already have begun to form collaborations with the New York Botanical Garden; the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and Jardin Botanique de Montreal, each a great institution with long experience to share. We look forward to establishing additional collaborations to learn from other botanical gardens and centers for ecological research centers as our work proceeds.

We will create a forum, both figuratively and literally, for discussing the issues on conservation and biodiversity as they evolve. While the issues are many, there also is a greater understanding of possible solutions. Multi-media meeting space will be designed into the learning center where people locally and internationally will be invited to share their small and great strides toward moving us forward.

It will be important to hear from people such as Robert Hoffman, who in 2000 organized a team of 62 climbers to combine their individual skills to clear half of a ton of man’s debris from Mt. Everest.

As another example, from 2000 to 2002 J. Michael Fay traveled singly across 2,000 miles of Gabon and created a film of that country’s vast rain forest resources. His journey convinced Gabon’s leader to preserve thirteen environmentally critical areas as protected national parks.

We want to share in individual triumphs and in the optimism that will help us to remain
active in our stewardship of our planet.
New England Botanical Garden
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