Garden Life

Chicago Botanic Garden Plant Conservation Science Center – Saving the Planet Through Research and Conservation!

Seed scientists at the Plant Science Center dividing seeds

On the cover of the Chicago Botanic Garden’s (CBG) map and garden guide it says, “Plant Science Will Save The Planet.” After visiting The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center, I agree that educating the public on this amazing process will be critical to the earth’s future.

Julie McCaffrey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, gave me a wonderful tour of the newly renovated Plant Science Center. She and I hopped on an electric cart Julie McCaffrey and me driving through a wooded section of the gardens. Beautiful!    and jetted over to the state-of-the-art building. First thing she pointed out was that the floors in the halls behind the scenes were made from recycled tires. All the floors are radiant heated to promote energy conservation

The Plant Science Center was designed as a gold rated certified building for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). CBG’s 38,0000-square-foot Plant Science Center provides teaching facilities and laboratories for more than 200 Emily Shelton, Gardener for the Plant Science Center Green Roof Garden    Ph.D. scientists, land managers, students, and interns whose conservation and plant research is very important to accomplishing the Garden’s efforts to save our planet by saving our plants. It also serves as home to a doctoral program in plant biology and conservation with Northwestern University. A viewing gallery of the scientists at work (see photo above) and the 16,000-square-foot Green Roof Garden are open to the public. Annually, nearly 800,000 visitors will get to view plant science firsthand.

Emily Shelton (see right) is a gardener for the green roof and helps maintain the plantings. Nearly 320 varieties of plants were planted at the Plant Science Center Green Roof Garden. Just recently installed, the green roof was quite impressive, and I am excited to come back and see progress over the years.

Bikers rolling by the Plant Science Center Rain Water Glen

Most impressive was a very special rain garden which surrounds the Plant Science Center Building. It is a shallow, trough-like depression and is called the Rainwater Glen; it functions like a river’s floodplain. It is designed to hold back stormwater runoff, allowing deep-rooted native plants to facilitate absorption and help filter impurities to improve community water quality. Above you see a photo of a portion of the Rainwater Glen as bikers pass by riding through the incredible scenery at CBG.

Below is a video on the Plant Science Center Rainwater Glen which really speaks to it’s wonderful water conservation science.

Next chance you get, go to The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center at the Chicago Botanic Garden – you will see conservation in action and an entire community built to make a difference for our earth.

Shawna Coronado says Get Healthy! Get Green! Get Community!

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  • Reply
    Kalena Michele
    February 10, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Green roofs are an interesting concept. I thought of my own split-level and thought about how awesome it would be to have a roof full of moss-like plants. Wishful thinking 🙂

  • Reply
    Shawna Lee Coronado
    February 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Not wishful thinking- you can certainly do it these days. I'd like it on my house as well!


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