2012 is almost gone and winter is settling into the Garden. I can once again see Georgia Strait from my office window, no longer obscured by magnolias.
2012 has been a year of building for UBC Botanical Garden, not structures or new spaces, but partnerships and programs. The new Horticulture Training Program launched in September with support from the University and the endorsement of the provincial Industry Training Authority and HortEducationBC. This provincially-accredited program appears to be the first trade certificate offered through UBC in the Universityâ€™s history. Thanks to the Friends of the Garden (FOGs), over $50,000 has been raised for the David Tarrant Scholarship Fund, an endowment which will provide an annual award to a deserving Horticulture Training Program student.
Those of you who made it to Apple Festival this year will know that we faced near disaster when our record-breaking summer changed to winter rains and wind overnight. Out of adversity came strength, and fun, with FOGs and Garden staff rising to the occasion making it a memorable and happy weekend for our hardy festival goers. This year we added a festival main stage with some great acts and welcomed new vendors to our event. With a large quantity of apples left after the festival, apple sales stretched over 7 days this year setting a new record for the FOGs of 44,000 lbs. We were proud to also host the naming of Canadaâ€™s newest apple, the remarkable Salish at this yearâ€™s festival.
Partnering with our sister attraction, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, we launched â€œFoodâ€, the first of a series of annual programming themes with the Garden presenting â€˜Edible Diversityâ€™, a new self-guided tour that highlights BCâ€™s edible foliage, and the Museum focusing on predator-prey relationships. And as the Garden settles into its new home in the Faculty of Science, other departments are becoming more aware of the resources we offer. A great example is UBC ornithology students now regularly visit the Garden for hands-on experience bird banding and mist-netting.Â Through another initiative Garden staff organized a botanical foray with the Beaty Biodiversity Museumâ€™s Herbarium and other organizations to collect and record native plants.
The monthly UTown@UBC Nature Club is another successful collaboration. Working closely with the Museum and UBC Campus + Community Planning, the Garden engages elementary school-aged campus residents in fun, interactive adventures to learn new skills, explore the campus and get to know their human, plant and animal neighbours.
On behalf of Garden staff, the Friends of the Garden, and the Faculty of Science, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and a healthy and happy 2013.
Wishing you a beautiful garden in 2013,
UBC Biodiversity Collections – UBC Botanical Garden and Beaty Biodiversity Museum
p.s. It took two years but Google has just recently launched â€œstreet viewâ€ images of the Garden on Google Maps. Now you can walk our garden pathways without leaving the comfort of your home.