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Janice’s Garden                                                  Protecting our Trees

    Millions have experienced Chinese perenni-        	 Our Zoo is blessed with a number of beautiful,
    als, birch, bamboo, and spruce trees among        mature trees. Last summer, many were saddened
    ornamental grasses and trees at the Red           when a storm knocked down that beautiful 175-year-
    Panda Woodland exhibit at the Zoo. Since          old oak tree near the reptile house. Deb Zureick,
    1997 a clay tablet commemorates the gar-          Manager of the Botanical Garden, recalls her heart-
    den with the following inscription “Janice’s      break at the news. Steve texted her at 2 a.m. to tell
    Garden: An oasis of natural beauty - her          her of the tree’s fate. The two of them have worked
    tranquil solitude. She found serenity at the      side-by-side for 30 years, so each understood the
    Zoo. Janice had a desire for all to experi-       significance of the loss. But, that oak tree made
    ence her happiness and appreciation of            headlines and hopefully, drew attention to the lon-
    nature’s gifts.” Her husband Barry Steinberg      gevity of trees and the reasons people like Deb,
    notes how before she passed she “loved just       Steve, and Scott work so hard to preserve them.
    breathing the aromas, the gardens, the flow-      	 As you likely know, we’re currently renovating
    ers, the ambience, the tranquility of the Zoo...  and expanding Gorilla World. Such a massive proj-
    By funding the maintenance of the garden          ect requires space, both for the expansion itself and
    each year, it’s my way of being with Jan at       for the work to take place. This creates a challenge
    the Zoo. I don’t think there could be a more      for Horticulture.
    special place to be with her.”                    	 Steve says “As Gorilla World is being expanded,
                                                      we’re keeping careful watch on the plants around it.
10                                                    Something that makes our zoo unique is, we’re will-
                                                      ing to take extra steps to preserve the feel of the
                                                      place. We have that unique 1800s mature, park-like
                                                      setting. And we’re doing all of this construction. So,
                                                      through our Legacy Tree Program, we ensure that
                                                      our 100-year-old trees are sacred.”
                                                      	 He continues, “Why are we so concerned with
                                                      trying to work around those trees? Well, take a tree
                                                      that’s forty years old. You can plant a new tree, but
                                                      it’s going to look really small compared with that
                                                      forty-year-old tree. Most people vastly underesti-
                                                      mate the age of trees. They might walk by and think
                                                      it’s ten years old.” He adds, only half-jokingly, “May-
                                                      be we should start putting dates on the trees and
                                                      celebrating their birthdays.”
                                                      	 The team aims to raise awareness about trees
                                                      throughout the community. “We want to make peo-
                                                      ple proud of their trees. We may say to someone, ‘do
                                                      you know you have the best shingle oak in the city,
                                                      right in your front yard?’ and give them a plaque.
                                                      They might not have even known that was a shingle
                                                      oak, and they have something to be really proud of.”
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