Tulsa Botanic Garden Furthers Mission, Expands Education

Contributing Writer

CHILDREN’S GARDEN BIRTHDAY: Individuals enjoy Tulsa Botanic Garden’s Children’s Discovery Garden. The Children’s Discovery Garden Birthday Celebration took place on May 20, 1-3 p.m., in honor of the children’s garden’s second birthday, with cupcakes for the first 100 children, crafts and other activities.

Courtesy Tulsa Botanic Garden

As Tulsa Botanic Garden, established in 2002, continues to grow in the Osage Hills, just west of downtown Tulsa, the organization is expanding its upcoming events and programs and working towards the construction of its third and fourth gardens.

Since unveiling its master plan in 2012, Tulsa Botanic Garden has opened two gardens and an activity building, with future plans to construct its third and fourth gardens: the Lotus Pool and All Season’s Garden. Fundraising is ongoing.

“As a young organization, we are continually growing and adding new ideas while always focused on holding true to our mission and remaining loyal to programs that our members look forward to year after year,” says Tulsa Botanic Garden Todd Lasseigne.

“In an effort to further the garden’s mission to provide nature and gardening education, the Mabee Grange opened in December,” says Lasseigne. “This building helps the garden meet its primary mission to provide education, including lectures, workshops and school activities.”

The building was constructed adjacent to the Children’s Discovery Garden specifically due to the garden’s focus on children’s education and programming, Lasseigne says. “Its purpose is to be an indoor learning space that works with the children’s garden as the outdoor lab.”

The Grange recently welcomed Tulsa Public Schools second grade students for (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) activities. Students dissected flowers and studied pollinators and observed them firsthand in the garden, says Maggie Regan, Tulsa Botanic Garden programs and events director.

“Horticulture and plant sciences are a natural fit for and STEAM, which includes the arts,” Lasseigne says. “Horticulture is the art and science of growing plants. People who are drawn to the arts are naturally drawn to gardens.”

In June, the garden will welcome its first group of summer camp students with the Tulsa Children’s Museum.

In addition to children’s activities, however, Lasseigne plans to grow the garden’s adult programming and workshop offerings. In the future, he envisions a formal education department with staff members who are specifically dedicated to garden education.

In April, the garden launched its first annual Botanical! fundraising event, with a French theme. The two-day event began on April 13 with a nine-course Parisian dinner, held at the Mabee Grange and prepared by French Chef Amélie Darvas. A French-themed symposium was held the following morning with a French bazaar taking place all day on the garden grounds.

“Botanical! allows us an opportunity to create a weekend of activities in order to appeal to many individuals and interests,” Lasseigne says.

Planning has already begun for next year’s event, to center on a different-themed country.

On May 12, the garden held one of its long-time events: the sixth annual Day In the Garden ().

“DIG began as a fundraising event for the Children’s Discovery Garden, which will turn two years old on May 15,” says Lasseigne. “The event continues to fund the operations and growth of the children’s garden.

“Extending the family festivities of this year was the garden’s first annual Mother’s Day Brunch, which sold out weeks before the event,” he continues.

Based on the brunch’s popularity, Lasseigne feels confident the event will return in 2019, possibly expanded in size to accommodate the interest.

The Children’s Discovery Garden Birthday Celebration included cupcakes for the first 100 children, crafts and other activities from 1 to 3 p.m.

On the day that the children’s garden opened in 2016, over 3,000 people visited, says Lori Hutson, Tulsa Botanic Garden communications and outreach director. Therefore, they are expecting a large turnout for the anniversary festivities.

Another first-time endeavor for the garden is its Christopher Curtis “Lifting the Landscape” sculpture exhibit.

The exhibit, which runs through Aug. 26, showcases Curtis’ large sculptures of stone that are installed throughout the garden grounds. The sculptures are also available for purchase. A portion of the sales benefits Tulsa Botanic Garden.

Curtis begins with raw stones as they are found in nature and often incorporates sculptural welded stainless steel or bronze into his pieces.

“The scale of his pieces and his theme work beautifully in the garden,” says Lasseigne.
“The focus of his work is on working with things that have been here long before us and will continue long after us.”

As Tulsa Botanic Garden continues to move toward the fruition of its master plan, garden administrators hope to create a similarly lasting legacy.

To learn about all of the garden’s upcoming events, visit tulsabotanic.org.

Updated 05-22-2018

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