Warmer days lead to anticipated beauty of Botanica Gardens Botanica Gardens, run almost completely by volunteers, is filled with over nine acres of gardens that contain over 3600 species of plants. “Our busiest season is April to October. With specials events, wedding, festivals, concerts and just regular admission days we are swamped when the sun is shining,” Botanica Garden’s events coordinator, Gabby Brandt said. On any average summer day, Botanica can have as many as 500 people people wander through the gardens. “The biggest event that Botanica hosts is our Illuminations event. This past year, it was reinvented to include 700,000 lights in additions to the 5,000 luminaries lit in all of our themed gardens,” Brandt said. During the Illuminations, over 35,000 people went through the gardens. That is over one third of the population of Wichita. “Christmas was a good time to go because of all the different light shows were pretty and the gardens looked awesome all lit up,” junior Alexa Oliphant said. In 1987, Botanica was officially opened to the public. The gardens stared with a group of gardens and garden clubs along with the City of Wichita,” Botanica Garden’s executive director, Marty Miller said. Botanica is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. According to www.botanica.org, the gardens have expanded from four in the beginning to now 24 themed gardens and exhibits. “All of the different gardens were really interesting and cool,” sophomore Morgan Trekell said. Currently Botanica’s main attraction is the Downing Children’s Garden. “From the giant caterpillars and monster woods, to rainbow trails, a musical maze and fossils, the Children’s Garden strives to provide an educational, imaginative and interactive environment where kids can enjoy, explore and discover our natural world,” Brandt said. People enjoy the gardens because they have a calm and quiet effect on them. “I went when I was a little bit younger and I liked the peaceful feeling as I walked through and looked at all the pretty flowers,” Trekell said.
March 12, 2012
Botanica is mainly run by volunteers and is a great place to receive community service hours. “On a daily basis, we have a circulation of 350 volunteers that help with maintaining the gardens, admissions, and helping with special events,” Brandt said. Volunteers must complete a short application and then are encouraged to meet with the director of volunteers, Jodi McArthur. “In 25 years of operation, we have had hundreds of volunteers with close to one million hours of service,” Botanica’s director of volunteer services Jobi McArthur said. Free admission at the gardens while volunteering is just one of the many reasons why students should volunteer at Botanica. “Learning interesting facts and developing skills with our plants and butterflies, meeting fascinating people from our community and around the world, and gaining the satisfaction of being an active participant in improving and growing one of the area’s major cultural attractions are all reasons why people should volunteer at Botanica,” McArthur said. The Botanica volunteer program offers many different opportunities to meet the needs and interests of everyone. “There is no plae more beautiful to work or volunteer than Botanica and there is always something new to see or do,” McArthur said. Admission into Botanica is $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens or military personnel, $5 for youth, and children two and under get in for free. The gardens are open year-round and repeat visits make for a surprise everytime because the gardens change with season. “All the different flowers made the gardens interesting and fun,” sophomore Meghan Regehr said. Over 43,000 tulip bulbs and 62,000 daffodil bulbs bloom with an assortment of other flower bloom in the spring. Botanica gardens has many different attractions and exhibits to offer people. “There was a lot of stuff to do. The winter was a really fun time to go,” Regehr said.
A collection of some of my best design layouts throughout my journalistic career.