Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
(PBG) is opening to the public for the first time with "Peak and Preview" tours beginning tomorrow. It's the first opportunity for the general public to see the 460-acre garden's progress after more than 20 years of work which includes the remediation of a former strip mine.
Kitty Vagley, PBG director of development, says these tours are encouraging to the project's supporters and staff, and are a milestone for this long-awaited garden.
"It's a way to say to all these people who have kept faith that we are finally emerging from the environmental morass and producing something worthwhile," she says.
Vagley says the garden is at a halfway mark, with approximately three miles of trails built, and interactive exhibits for families and children such as a child-sized bird nest. Twelve acres have been cleared of invasive species, with over 2,000 native plantings. And soon a drainable limestone bed will be installed for remediation of acid mine drainage, which would otherwise render a pond in the woods lifeless.
The organization knew that former mines on the land had created environmental issues for the garden, but after the damage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004 those problems were revealed to be far greater than they imagined.
"For eight years we have struggled with the environmental problems that no one knew we were signing up for," Vagley says. "So the fact that we can actually point to this site and say we are moving ahead, we are real, is a big accomplishment.”
Weekly tours are currently scheduled through November, and space can be reserved by calling the garden or through its website. Tomorrow, Dr. Doug Tallamy, an entomologist form the University of Delaware, will lead a tour and give a lecture on the importance of native plants in a diverse ecosystem.
More extensive tours are also available on request, which will allow guests to see the Dogwood Meadow, and the Eastern European and English Woodlands. 412-444-4464.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Kitty Vagley