Organic Garden Project launched at Franklin Park Zoo
Tuesday April 8, 2014
Boston, Mass. – With Spring finally here, it’s time to get the garden ready – the Organic Garden Project that is.
The Organic Garden Project is a new initiative being launched at Zoo New England’s Franklin Park Zoo. Through this garden project, which is supported in part by the Massachusetts Service Alliance and the YOU Generate Campaign, the staff at the zoo along with volunteers will prepare the gardens, plant and harvest a variety of organic produce, herbs and other plantings that will be fed to the animals and used as enrichment.
During National Volunteer Week, April 6 – 13, volunteers, including a group from Boston’s Gilbane Building Company, will work with the zoo’s horticulture staff to prepare the gardens for planting. Also in April, David Buchanan, a local Eagle Scout from Milton’s Troop 3, will be installing a fence around the garden as part of his Eagle Scout project.
In addition to the benefits to Zoo New England’s Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo, The Organic Garden Project also provides an opportunity to educate people in the local communities about the importance of fresh, locally grown produce and how to undertake small-scale organic gardening on their own.
“The Organic Garden Project aligns perfectly with Zoo New England’s conservation mission, and is an incredible opportunity to educate people of all ages in a meaningful, hands-on way about the importance of sustainability, organic gardening practices and the role that pollinators play in the ecosystem,” said Harry Liggett, Zoo New England Manager of Horticulture and Grounds.
The main fenced in garden will measure 50-feet by 40-feet and will be planted with romaine and endive. The second garden will measure 50-feet by 30-feet and will feature vegetables including red peppers, swiss chard, pumpkins, carrots and a variety of herbs. Both gardens will be surrounded by insectary plantings, which will include dill, fennel, forsythia and cosmos, that are intended to attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs, hover flies, predatory wasps and others. The insectary plantings will also be used as enrichment – novel food and play items for the animals.
Between the two fenced gardens, three plots of buckwheat, an insectary plant that is an important source of pollen for bees, will be planted.
Zoo New England manages Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and Stone Zoo in Stoneham. Both are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Zoo New England's mission is to inspire people to protect and sustain the natural world for future generations by creating fun and engaging experiences that integrate wildlife and conservation programs, research, and education.