Come and enjoy a spring celebration with special activities, performances and food trucks
The State Botanical Garden of Georgia welcomed more than 200 people to celebrate the completion of the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden Monday morning with a dedication and ribbon-cutting at the new nature-based educational environment.
The ceremony marked the conclusion of a project that transformed a parking lot at the State Botanical Garden, a UGA public service and outreach unit, into an interactive, outdoor classroom, allowing visitors throughout the state to experience natural Georgia environments with their own hands.
“In nearly every speech I give, I always try to remind people that we are a land-grant and sea-grant university, and with that comes a responsibility to make our resources available to individuals and communities throughout the state,” said University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead. “This botanical garden, and especially the children’s garden that we’re dedicating today, is such a great example of that goal.”
The new 2.5-acre garden contains a variety of fun, immersive locations, including a chestnut tree house, fossil wall, giant water-misting mushrooms, vegetable garden, a replica of a North Georgia cave, and more — all designed to be learned from, crawled through and touched.
“We are here to welcome you to more than a garden space built to engage children, students and families,” said Jenny Cruse-Sanders, director of the State Botanical Garden. “The Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden is a journey of discovery across Georgia’s rich natural resources – and a celebration of the University of Georgia’s service and outreach across our state.”
The children’s garden project began in earnest 12 years ago with a $1 million donation from the family of Alice H. Richards in 2007. The namesake of the new garden, Richards was a charter member of the State Botanical Garden’s Board of Advisors and an ardent supporter of the botanical garden.
Alice’s son Jim, one of several members of the Richards family in attendance, felt his mother would have been proud to see her dream of a children’s garden become a reality.
“We’re very proud that her vision when she came to the board has come to fruition,” said Jim Richards. “My mother would adore this spectacular, clean, crisp day as we move out of winter, and be so pleased and very proud of this children’s garden, which she dreamed of from the time she became a State Botanical Garden of Georgia board member.”
The children’s garden will officially open to the public with a grand opening on Saturday, March 23. The celebration will feature live music, food trucks and a variety of performances at the Theatre-in-the-Woods stage.
Aaron Cox Public Relations Specialist
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Cora Keber State Botanical Garden Director of Education
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