It was a bright, sunny first day of summer when Bruce Crawford, director of the Rutgers Gardens, took 12 SEBS staff members on a guided tour of the gardens as part of a SEBS Staff Community Initiative activity. Much like Dr. Seuss’ character, the Lorax, who “speaks for the trees,” Crawford speaks for the Rutgers Gardens. In addition to taking in some of the current features of the Gardens, Crawford swept participants into its past, from its glacial beginnings to its purchase in 1873 from the Ryder family farm when Route 1 was a little country road. Fast forwarding through time, Crawford highlighted some of the major renovations in store for the Gardens, which will be the host location for a grand Garden Party as part of Rutgers’ 250th anniversary celebration in 2016.
The lunch hour was not sufficient to explore all of the Gardens, but the small circuit gave a sampling of the diverse displays, including the American Holly collection, the azalea/rhododendron trail, the cactus collection, the Donald B. Lacy Display Garden, the cactus collection and the Rain Garden – each enriched with an interesting story from Crawford. From plant tramping and picking by the public to quirky research professors, each nook and cranny held a story.
Some of the highlights Crawford shared for the planned Gardens renovation include a Canopy entrance and a transition to an All-Pedestrian Garden, with no cars. A bicycle path and bike rentals will add another aspect as a family fun destination. The whole Gardens will be family-friendly, intended for kids of all ages.
The SEBS Administrative Staff Community Initiative offers staff the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the school community and campus and get to know other staff members through a variety of activities such as lunch hour sessions on Get Moving Get Healthy, stress management, Twitter class, campus-wide food drives, bird walks, farm tours and bi-monthly book clubs.
To view or sign up for SEBS staff activities, SEBS staff can log in with their NetID to the Rutgers Professional Development Program Enrollment Management System and go to “SEBS Staff Only” link (note: the summer schedule is light, but more activities will be added in the fall).