Next week brings the official end to a beautiful summer. While we might feel autumn melancholy to see the sedum blush pink, fall offers its own exceptional beauty and a fulfilling season of programs at the Chicago Botanic Garden. We also take this time to reflect on the one-year anniversary of the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center.
Because of this unique laboratory building—which this summer was awarded a gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council—Chicago Botanic Garden scientists and students in our Master’s and Ph.D. programs with Northwestern University are employing expanded research capabilities. All life depends on plants; Garden scientists’ research yields new techniques to conserve plants and preserve the healthy ecosystems on which we all depend. The work of Garden scientists is regularly being recognized by national and international partners, including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Interior, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Botanic Gardens Conservation International.
I hope you will celebrate this first anniversary with a visit to the Science Center, and from there I encourage you to take a walk through the reconfigured Lavin Evaluation Garden. With the generous support—again!—of President’s Circle member Leonard Lavin, the garden has been rededicated in loving tribute to his late wife, Bernice E. Lavin, a cherished member of our Garden community.
Established in 1998, the Lavin Plant Evaluation Garden, like the Plant Science Center, is open to visitors and home to important research. This garden is where—with operational support from the Woman’s Board of the Chicago Horticultural Society—Garden scientists rigorously evaluate plants over several years to determine which perform best in our challenging midwestern climate, as well as develop new, superior plants that Chicagoland Grows® introduces to the marketplace.
And while you are in the new Lavin garden, take a moment to watch the construction of the bridge that will connect Evening Island to the Plant Science Center. I am deeply grateful to President’s Circle members Tricia and Will Hagenah for making possible this connection to the Garden’s main campus. The bridge will make it easier for visitors to experience all of the beautiful display gardens as well as learn about plant conservation biology. The bridge will open on the first Saturday of June 2011, and will kick off our fourth annual celebration of World Environment Day.
I look forward to seeing you at the Garden, where early fall beauty abounds and where brisk autumn air and the magnificence of our natural world—as it slowly prepares itself for winter—nourish everyone who visits. I wish for you and your family the many rewards of visiting soon, and often.
Until our paths cross, please know how much I appreciate everything you do to help the Chicago Botanic Garden fulfill its important mission.