PROVIDENCE – March 2, 2007 — Visitors to the will have access to high quality educational programs under a new partnership between the City of Providence and the University of Rhode Island. URI officials joined Mayor David N. Cicilline today as he announced details of the initiative at the ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the largest indoor public display garden in New England.
“Our new partnership with URI will offer visitors to the Botanical Center excellent educational programs taught by leading experts in the field of Horticulture and Life Sciences,” said Mayor Cicilline. “This agreement will strengthen the Botanical Center’s position as a premier tourist destination and educational center.”
Under the terms of the agreement, URI will manage the Botanical Center’s educational programs and provide faculty from the University’s College of the Environment and Life Sciences and URI-trained Master Gardner volunteers to teach a wide variety of classes. In addition, URI will train volunteers to staff a Master Gardner Information Desk at the Center as well as provide information on how to access the services of the URI Plant Clinic in Kingston.
“We are proud and excited to be working with Mayor Cicilline to bring the expertise of URI faculty and Cooperative Extension staff to the City of Providence and to educate local children and adults about gardening, horticulture and the protection of our natural resources,” said Jeff Seemann, dean of the URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences. “We will have full time staff here at the Botanical Gardens, and we look forward to offering our first two programs in April, the popular Spring Gardening School and our Master Composter/Recycler Program.”
“It’s my hope that this new agreement with URI and the diversity of plant life made possible by all of the Botanical Center’s partners will provide fun and exciting learning experiences for people of all ages,” said Alix Ogden, Parks Superintendent.
The Botanical Center enjoys a partnership with 12 other organizations including the Rhode Island Rose Society, Rhode Island Orchid Society, Rhode Island Carnivorous Plant Society and Master Gardeners.
The 12,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility houses an extraordinary array of flowers, rare plants, waterfalls and unique exhibits, including carnivorous plants and towering palm trees. The glass ceiling inside the conservatory reaches 40-feet high and sensors automatically raise and lower electronic shades based upon the optimal interior climate and the amount of natural light inside the facility. Horticultural displays will be changed throughout the year in the conservatory to encourage visitors to return for new experiences.
The Botanical Center also features classroom space in two restored Lord and Burnham Greenhouses built in the 1960’s as well as facilities for indoor and outdoor events.
Admission to the Botanical Center is $3 for adults, $1 for children aged six to 12-years-old; children under the age of six will be admitted free of charge. Providence residents will also be admitted free of charge on the first Saturday of each month. To learn more about the facility or to sign up for educational programs, visit the City’s website at www.providenceri.com.
URI News Bureau photos by Michael Salerno Photography