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News: Garden Club of Hartford Seeds the Future


November 20, 2017

Keney Park was designed by the Olmsted Brothers in 1896 and at 700 acres is one of the largest municipal open spaces in New England.  The Garden Club of Hartford began its commitment to Keney and a partnership with the City of Hartford in 2014 when it launched a design competition for university landscape architecture students partially funded by the GCA’s Partners for Plants program.  The directive was to redesign the park’s five aging entrances, specifying pollinator-friendly native trees and shrubs and keeping low maintenance and invasive plant management in mind.  A team from the Landscape Architecture Department of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design won the competition, and all park entrances have been replanted to illustrate best practices in land management.  New signs within the park will explain the park’s flora, fauna, landmarks, and history.

Collaborating with the Environmental Learning Center of Connecticut and the Hartford Department of Public Works, GC of Harford implemented an urban park care training course, From the Ground Up: Best Practices in Land Management Basics, which covers biodiversity, plant identification, pollinator preservation, and invasive plant management.  Enthusiasm ran high as workers with no prior training in horticulture learned how to support Keney Park’s wildlife and identify and manage invasive plants that threaten the park’s biodiversity.  

The course received financial support from the GCA’s Founders Fund, which provides monetary awards to projects proposed by and voted upon by GCA-member clubs.

This project dovetails with the GCA’s engagement with Seed Your Future, a consortium dedicated to building a pipeline of environmental leaders and promoting rewarding careers in the green industry.  One of Seed You Future’s goals is workforce development -- increasing the skilled workforce in horticulture and developing a strong pipeline of future talent.

Learn more about Seed Your Future


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