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What Will I Find There?

A Visitor’s Journey

The conceptual design of the exhibits and programs for the Botanical Garden and Conservation Learning Center is underway. Much work lies ahead. The design of the buildings, outdoor gardens, and landscapes will flow from the desired programs. The program will evolve and be refined as we progress, but the experience in the Botanical Garden may be framed as follows:

You will be drawn into the spectacular glass conservatory by what you see from the outside. You will enter the warm, moist tropical rainforest through a glass wall of exotic flowers whose roots never touch the ground.
You will be able to retreat to warm, alive spaces on cold winter days, feel the cooling shade of foliage and splash from falling water in the heat of the summer, or linger in all seasons just to contemplate amidst the colors and scents of nature.
You will be able to emerge into the treetops of a lush forest of greenery filled with the songs of birds and the crackling sounds of small animals.
You will be able to explore in a garden of newly discovered local or exotic plant species; or help nurture a garden of plants and small creatures who are on the brink of extinction and in need of preservation.
You will be able to stand in a sea of newly hatched butterflies and delight in the flutter of their wings around your face.
You will be able to see the time-washed skeletons or rare remains of animal species that once graced our planet, but are now extinct reminders of the value of biodiversity today and of our challenges for conserving sustainable ecosystems to ensure the future of plant and animal life.
You will be able to travel on a mini-odyssey through different habitats of the world. You will pass from the dense tropical rainforest through a snowy high Alpine ridge, simulating New England's Mount Washington, with naturally formed “bonsai” trees dwarfed by their harsh environment.
You will want to return frequently to the Biodiversity Learning Gardens where learning about nature will be as engaging for adults as it is fun for children.
You will be able to relax in a garden of healing plants or explore the origin of Chinese herbal medicine and its integration into Western culture.

Evolving Activities and Spaces

Learning at the Center will be focused on broadening our views of the natural world and its people and places. There may be rotating photography and art exhibits focused on nature and on naturalist expeditions and cultural explorations. A library will house historic and rare botanic book collections as well as serve as an on-line clearing-house for information on biodiversity and the earth sciences.

Multi-media meeting space and web-based communication 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.

This space also will provide opportunities to transport us to other cultures and environments through narratives and film as well as through live-time links that allow you to span the face of the planet without leaving the City.

Visitor amenities will include a small café and a restaurant where you can enjoy lunch or a dinner of local produce or exotic faresin nature or just stop by for a warm drink on a cold day.

A flexible space will be created to support different activities and events and seasons throughout the year. The facility as a whole will be designed to allow spaces to be transformed as time and relevancy of exhibits evolve.We will design the structures and outdoor gardens to create an integrated campus and to work well within the geometry of the four acres.

You will be able simply to enjoy the beauty and solitude of nature, or partake fully in the personal enrichment opportunities that will be offered. Ultimately, inspiration from nature may engender a sense of personal awakening, spark a cultural awakening on a community level, and lead to positive social action on a global scale.

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