Emily Wettstein 0

Garden of Many Colors

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Botanical gardens have been a place of beauty, relaxation and education for many years. Ancient gardens, dating back 3000 years to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, were used for many purposes, but the first true botanical gardens didn’t pop up until the 16th and 17th centuries. The first botanic garden to be established in the United States was the Missouri Botanic Garden in 1859. During this time, the gardens of Europe had been experiencing a decline because the focus was shifting from scientific research to preservation and pleasure. To learn more in depth about the history, visit


In the last 30 years, though, there has been a revival of botanical gardens due to the conservation movement. Aimed at protecting wilderness, natural resources, and wildlife, there are many projects focusing on climate change, education of the public, especially children and water problems. Today, there are currently 1775 botanical gardens and conservatories around the world, about 550 of those are in the United States and 31 are in Illinois. At the start of this year, most of these 31 are state, city and privately owned gardens, only 5 are universities and 2 are community colleges. We would like to increase that number at community colleges and more specifically, for Heartland Community College.

Here on campus, students, faculty and the public could enjoy a variety of plants from many regions, climates and countries around the world. The area would boast outdoor gardens, seating areas and ponds, as well as a greenhouse for year-round beauty, relaxation and education. There are several areas that could host such a garden on the Heartland Community College grounds. One, there is large plot behind the parking lot next to the Child Development Lab or, two, the immense piece of land around and behind the pond between the college and the Corn Crib. Both places would be perfect for a botanical garden, but the pond area would be a little bit more fitting because, well, there is already a pond.

There are many benefits to having a botanical garden at a college. Number one is education. Many colleges offer plant/botanical studies, and while book learning is good, why not have a garden to actually be able to study the real thing. Not only that, but where is a better place to study: a crowded library, the Heartland Campus Café, or amidst quiet beauty? Student could use dedicated spots within the garden to study for exams and meet friends to work on homework. What a better spot than here? Number 3. This botanical garden could also be open to the community for education, programs and relaxation. There have been studies performed that show an increase in stress relief, relaxation and enjoyment of life for those who visit botanical gardens and even more so for students and faculty at the college. The botanical garden could also be a money maker for the college. The public could pay for classes taught about the wildlife, there could be a small entrance fee for those who are not students or faculty at the college and one could buy small plants from the greenhouse.

We hope you will support our cause to establish a botanical garden at Heartland Community College.

We, the undersigned, would like Rob Widmer, the president of Heartland Community College, and the Board of Trustees, to establish a botanical garden on the Heartland Community College campus.

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