Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
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|Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden|
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
|Type||Private, open to the public for a fee|
|Location||Coral Gables, (Miami-Dade County), Florida, United States|
|Area||83 acres (34 ha)|
|Status||Open year round|
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is an 83-acre (34 ha) botanic garden, with extensive collections of rare tropical plants including palms, cycads, flowering trees, and vines. It is located in the city of Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States, just south of Miami, surrounded at the south and west by Matheson Hammock Park.
Fairchild opened to the public in 1938.
Fairchild is a museum, a laboratory, a learning center, and a conservation research facility; its main role is preserving biodiversity. It has 45,000 members and more than 1,200 volunteers. In 2012, Fairchild became the home of the American Orchid Society.
The garden was established in 1936 by Robert H. Montgomery (1872–1953), an accountant, attorney, and businessman with a passion for plant-collecting. The garden opened to the public in 1938. He named it after his friend David Fairchild (1869–1954), a significant plant explorer. Fairchild's travels brought more than 20,000 plants to the United States, including mangos, alfalfa, nectarines, dates, horseradish, bamboos, and flowering cherries. David Fairchild retired to Miami in 1935, but many plants still growing in the Garden were collected and planted by him, including a giant African baobab tree. Montgomery pursued the creation a botanical garden in Miami. He purchased the site, named it after Fairchild, and later deeded it in large part to Miami-Dade County.
The garden was designed by landscape architect William Lyman Phillips, member of the Frederick Law Olmsted partnership, and a leading landscape designer in South Florida during the 1930s. He was born in 1885 in Massachusetts and obtained his landscape architecture degree from Harvard in 1910. He came to Florida in 1924 and by 1933, he was working with the Dade County Park Department and drawing plans for Greynolds Park and Matheson Hammock Park. In 1938 Phillips began design for Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Phillip’s top three principles when designing Fairchild were: variety, consistency, and contrast. The primary buildings and landscape features, including the Montgomery Palmetum, Bailey Palm Glade, Allee and Overlook, Vine Pergola, Amphitheatre, Gate House, Montgomery Library and Museum, 14 lakes, stone terracing walls, irrigation systems, Moos Sunken Garden, and Nell Montgomery Garden House auditorium were built in the first 15 years. Later buildings included the Davis House (1953), Hawkes Laboratory (1960), Robbins Plant Science Building (1967), Rare Plant House (1968), Corbin Education Building (1972), Jean duPont Shehan Visitor Center (2002), and various additions over the years. In 2010 there was a groundbreaking ceremony for a new complex of buildings including the Paul and Swanee DiMare Science Village, Dr. Jane Hsaio Tropical Research Laboratories, Clinton Family Conservatory, and Burns Building. The Science Village complex opened December 2012 and was designed by Miami architect Max Strang.
Research and conservation
Fairchild scientists conserve tropical plants, attempting to avoid the extinction of species and their habitats. This work leads to quantifiable conservation benefits to Fairchild’s priority geographic investment regions (South Florida, Caribbean, oceanic islands, tropical Africa, and Madagascar) and plant groups (palms, cycads, tropical fruit, and tropical trees).
These have been selected because of conservation need, institutional expertise, and history. Main activities include field exploration of important plant areas, conservation assessments, species recovery, and direct support to in-situ conservation.
Fairchild partners with area colleges (including Florida International University, University of Miami, Miami Dade College, and University of Florida) to train graduate and postdoctoral students.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden provides educational programs to all age groups, including simple horticultural study, art and painting, photography, and culinary courses. More than five educational programs are available at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden for kindergarten to 12th grade. Through scientific investigation and garden exploration, students learn the fundamentals of botany, landscape, and nature. The programs include the Explorer Program, Discovery Program, Adventure Program, Planet Mobile Program, and Homeschool Programs. Through one such program, The Fairchild Challenge, about 20,000 students at more than 120 K-12 schools across Miami-Dade County plant, maintain, grow, and learn in their school gardens. This program offers garden consultations and teacher workshops as well as provides school garden grants. They include staff supervision, guided activities, and hands-on learning experiences. A graduate fellowship is available which trains students in "systematics, ecology, evolutionary biology, and genetics" etc.
Wings of the Tropics
In a new exhibit, "Wings of the Tropics", exotic butterflies from Central America and South America fly freely in the 25,000 square foot (2,300 m2) Clinton Family Observatory. Butterflies are released twice a day in the morning and afternoon. Among them are heliconius, morpho, and owl butterfly. The USDA-approved observatory features butterfly feeding times, which include fresh sliced fruit such as mango and cantaloupe. The butterflies also feed on ripe bananas usually placed in tree stumps or at ground level. There is a concrete walkway leading around the landscaped enclosed area where visitors can walk freely among the butterflies that may land in one's shoulders or head. Double sets of doors ensure that butterflies do not leave the exhibit.
Since 2003 Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has had art exhibits, artists have included Patricia Van Dalen, Yayoi Kusama, Dale Chihuly, Fernando Botero, Cameron Gainer, Roy Lichtenstein, Franz West, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Michele Oka Doner, Mark Dion, Joshua Levine, and Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne.
The garden hosts a series of seasonal weekend festivals including the International Chocolate Festival, the International Mango Festival, the Butterfly Festival, the Bird Festival, the Orchid Festival, the Ramble, the Food and Garden Festival, and the Edible Garden Festival. Other activities include concerts, and plant society meetings. Plants can be purchased during The Ramble event, usually held in the fall.
- "About". www.fairchildgarden.org. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017.
- "Hours and Admission". www.fairchildgarden.org. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
- Zuckerman, Bertram (1988). The Dream Lives On: A History of the Fairchild Tropical Garden, 1938-1988. Miami, FL: Fairchild Tropical Garden. p. 33. ISBN 0-916224-85-6.
- Wait, Lucita H. (1948). Fairchild Tropical Garden; The First Ten Years. New York: Ronald Press. p. 8. OCLC 1282598.
- Williams, Beryl; Epstein, Samuel (1963). Plant Explorer. New York: Julian Messner. p. 185. OCLC 796027885.
- Zuckerman (1988), pp. 15-33.
- Jackson, Faith Reyher (1997). Pioneer of Tropical Landscape Architecture: William Lyman Phillips in Florida. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida. p. 16. ISBN 9780813015163.
- "History of Fairchild Garden's Design". www.fairchildgarden.org. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017.
- "Center for Tropical Plant Conservation". www.fairchildgarden.org. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Archived from the original on 2 May 2012.
- "Classes at Fairchild". www.fairchildgarden.org. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
- "Field Trips". www.fairchildgarden.org. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
- "Graduate Fellowships in Tropical Plant Biology and Conservation". www.fairchildgarden.org. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
- "A World of Fluttering Color". www.fairchildgarden.org. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
- "Art at Fairchild". www.fairchildgarden.org. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Archived from the original on 29 July 2014.
- "Fairchild Events". www.fairchildgarden.org. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
- "Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden". www.fairchildgarden.org. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
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