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Old 05-01-2010, 08:42 PM   #1
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Default The Green Learning Station

This has been a great project, and I'm very pleased to announce the groundbreaking and website of The Green Learning Station.

Green Learning Station

I'm on the marketing committee, which is funny because I have no idea how to adequately explain it all to you all. Please let me know if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments.
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Old 05-01-2010, 11:34 PM   #2
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Do you have some information on the solar film? Is it a commercially available product?
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:03 AM   #3
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I like, "The Green Learning Station is a place to learn about how bringing natural cycles back into urban living will benefit our environment, health and pocketbook." We have nothing like this in Illinois. I'm jealous. What do you know about the vertical growing? Big question.... I see all that landscaping around the parking lot.... did they try to work in some native plants for bees and butterflies.
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Old 05-02-2010, 01:13 PM   #4
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Hi Equil. As far as I know, there's nothing like this anywhere. Not to brag, but it is really a terrific project, and should turn a lot of heads. I'm not a big fan of marketing it as strictly a urban-focused experience, as all of the concepts it demonstrates can be applied in any type of neighborhood.

As far as native species, that's tough. To understand the answer, you have to realize that the Civic Garden Center has been around 70 years or so, and the donor base has cultivated a botanical garden on site, which includes all sorts of various "themes," like a hosta garden, a serenity garden, and various other example environments. These are gardening paradises for Cincinnati, and represent what I consider to be how a lot of hobbyists approach the effort. The CGC has also, for almost 30 years, sponsored community gardens.

However, the Green Learning Station is an attempt to update the vision of the CGC, gardening anywhere and everywhere, to include a sustainable element. While the CGC advocates organic gardening and things like rainbarrels and composting, its focus has been on gardening as an activity. The GLS expands the vision and provides examples of sustainable strategies for building, maintenance, etc.

To use your question as of vertical growing as example, the CGC has taught folks how to increase the utility of plants by growing, for instance, beans vertically for more production, and things like lilacs for increased effect. The GLS will expand on that education to include the advantages of green walls for things like passive cooling.

We spent a lot of time considering the concept of sustainability as the overlap between utility for social, economical, and cultural reasons. Your question regarding native plantings is dead on, and reflects the exact perspective the GLS is meant to encourage. I would say that conventional gardening practices, organic or not, have a lot of room to develop in this regard. Directly, yes, the plantings at the curb will be wildlife sensitive, in as much as the parking lot borders an city street with 40,000+ cars a day in traffic, but also aimed to supplement the storm water reclamation elements of the project.

Whew. I'm sorry, but I can never answer questions without 5 or more paragraphs, but it's a big question you ask, and one we've worked hard to answer ourselves.
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:07 PM   #5
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I look anxiously to watching the development of this project. With ecologically responsible members from the community such as yourself, its success will be guaranteed.

Would you please take a moment to share their Mission Statement?

Have you been in a position to educate the Green Learning Station on the importance of avoiding the use of invasive and potentially invasive species?

I hope you do not forget to inform us of the opening. I would like to attend with my daughter.
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:26 PM   #6
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It's amazing that for the thirty years I lived in the Cincinnati area, I wasn't a particularly avid gardener. Since I've left and become more interested in gardening, I'm learning what an embarassment of riches the area has in that regard. I always visited and enjoyed the Krohn Conservatory (butterfly show is, I believe, still in progress. If you're anywhere close to the area, you MUST go see it!) and the horticultural aspects of the Cincinnati Zoo are always a treat. Though I never visited it, I've heard that Spring Grove Cemetary and Arboretum is a botanically significant site (two national champion trees and numerous state champs). Now this wonderful project! I guess you never know what you have until it's gone. Now, if you could just do something about that summer humidity, I might consider returning!
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Old 05-02-2010, 11:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulucanagria View Post
Now, if you could just do something about that summer humidity, I might consider returning!
If CincyGarden has the power to eliminate humidity over an entire city just to suit a friend's whims, I really think he should fix the invasives problem there first. And then he can visit here, and take care of our acres of honeysuckle with a wave of his hand.

<happily daydreaming>

And then we'd send him to the Gulf of Mexico for a short beach visit.
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Old 05-03-2010, 03:17 AM   #8
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@ Lorax: The mission of the CGC is to "build community through gardening, education, and environmental stewardship."

I've been working with them on issues of sustainability, which includes acknowledging, avoiding, and eliminating invasive plants, and I've said so. To be honest, the horticulture staff is way ahead of me on this issue. Also, it's a complicated issue based on the fact that the CGC site is also a botanical reserve, with "themed" gardens that are probably unsustainable without input (not permascapes).

It's a great question, and a serious issue. I have, certainly, been in a position to encourage serious discussion on the matter. Part of the challenge has been to work with the group to acknowledge that gardening, in and of itself, is not necessarily sustainable. There are things you can do, such as garden organically and use rainbarrels and compost, which make it more sustainable, but ideally you would proceed from square one to think about what and where you're gardening and choose plant species with invasives in mind. I've done my best to encourage this outlook, but (frankly) have spent a lot more time encouraging the perspective that Sustainability differs from gardening in general.

I like the CGC for a lot of reasons, and think they do great work even without this gem of a project. It's my, and their, earnest hope that this project helps the institution evolve further. In its history, it's served as a resource for gardeners of all varieties; it's my, and their, earnest hope that this project helps it realize the goal of modeling sustainable gardening.

So, the short answer is "yes" and directly, but not by specifically identifying species to avoid. The long answer qualifies that with some context which reflects more of the perspective I've been working from and encouraging.

@Buluc, yes it's a crowded market for "gardening" type of things here. As you know, Krohn and the Zoo are both within 5 minutes of the CGC site. The CGC is the only one of the three, though, specifically focused on gardening, Krohn being sponsored by the Park Board and the Zoo, well, you know. The butterfly show, if memory serves correctly, actually started @ the Zoo back in the mid-19th century as a public works project. I can't remember what it sought to accomplish right now, though =(

@ Calli: The Honeysuckle Popper! Buy 4 and donate to a boyscout troop! I'll be expecting my tickets, but I'd rather go to Yellowstone Now, if I could just figure out the garlic mustard thing...
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:12 PM   #9
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They included the words environmental stewardship. How wonderful to see the words in print associated with a community learning center.

This will be a golden opportunity for all members of the community to be in a position to make a difference in their own yards. That is truly what this is all about. Each visitor to the center hopefully returns home armed with one idea that appealed to them at a personal level. Once the visitor uses the idea at home, be it a new compost pile or the planting of a native butterfly plant, the center begins to fulfill its mission. Baby steps.
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:18 PM   #10
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I love "environmental stewardship" too.

It's a phrase that crosses cultures, religions, and countries, bringing disparate groups together with a common purpose. It's a serious thought and a hopeful message, all in one.
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