New England Wild Flower Society's Garden in the Woods horticulture team collaborated with the EcoTarium on their new permanent installation "The Arctic Next Door: Mt. Washington."
Out to Worcester and up Mt. Washington
Recently, the Garden in the Woods horticulture staff, including Senior Horticulturalist Kristin DeSouza and Staff Horticulturalist Nate McCullin, embarked on a unique project with the EcoTarium, with native plants displayed and highlighted in an indoor setting. The EcoTarium is a unique indoor-outdoor children’s museum in Worcester, MA (www.ecotarium.org). Set in an urban oasis, the EcoTarium offers a chance to walk through the treetops, meet wildlife, stroll nature trails, and get hands-on with family-friendly exhibits.
The Society is collaborating with the EcoTarium on their new permanent exhibit titled “The Arctic Next Door: Mt. Washington.” This exhibit explores the various New England life zones that one would encounter when ascending Mt. Washington. The Society’s horticulture team was brought into the project to assist with a suspended terrarium, showcasing native plants found on Mt. Washington. This terrarium, based on the work of artist Vaughn Bell, sits about four feet off the ground and is suspended with cables and stabilized with metal poles. It has two holes in the bottom of the egg-shaped structure to provide access for your head to “pop up” into the plant material and get a close-up look at the plants. Species in this exhibit include Mitchella repens (partridge-berry), Gaultheria procumbens (eastern spicy-wintergreen), and Vaccinium angustifolium (common lowbush blueberry). All of these species are commonly found in acidic soil conditions which exist throughout the mountainside.
From rescued bald eagles to a high speed wind chamber, the EcoTarium’s interactive exhibits integrate education and entertainment in a way that is unforgettable. If you haven’t been, it is more than worth the trip. If you have visited, stop back again and check out New England Wild Flower Society’s contribution to an already amazing exhibit.