Jul 062004
 
Authors: Chris Kampfe

While Spring Creek Trail has been utilized by bikers, joggers

and other exercise enthusiasts for years, it is just now welcoming

another group of enthusiasts: gardeners.

Located at 2145 S. Centre Ave., just south of CSU, is a

community horticulture center known as The Gardens on Spring

Creek.

The gardens are on an 18-acre plot neighboring the Spring Creek.

The gardens officially opened on May 8 after 17 years of planning

and financial contributions from both public and private

contributors. The gardens recently received $200,000 from Greater

Outdoor Colorado, a group that finances natural Colorado

organizations through profits from the state lottery.

“(The gardens) are city owned and operated,” said Jim Clark,

director of the gardens. “But we have a lot of nonprofit support

and assistance from volunteers.”

The gardens were formed as a community-oriented establishment,

operating under the mission, “to enrich the lives of people and

foster environmental stewardship through horticulture.”

Satisfying this mission is a cornerstone in the daily operations

at the gardens.

“We like to not think of (the mission) as something you write

out and file on the shelf,” Clark said. “We try to live that out

and fulfill it with an environmental ethic.”

The gardens offer several opportunities to community members,

including volunteering positions, classes and horticulture

instruction, as well as providing a community for like-minded

people to share their hobby. Clark has been happy with the

community response.

“The response is not just in numbers, because we haven’t had a

lot of publicity,” Clark said. “More importantly people are

extremely enthusiastic and supportive.”

The gardens have already registered at least 150 volunteers,

Clark said.

While the gardens are still in developmental stages, they

currently offer “Health, Healing and Horticulture” classes and a

greenhouse with instructional services, as well as community garden

plots for purchase. The greenhouse is accessible to handicapped

citizens. It also serves as a facility to show Fort Collins

residents what types of plants they can successfully grow in their

own greenhouses.

Eventually the gardens will also take part in agricultural

restoration along the Spring Creek Trail.

Robyn Dolgin is the horticulture program specialist and oversees

many of the activities held at the gardens.

Dolgin said the gardens have been working in partnership with

many organizations around the community, including CSU and Front

Range Community College.

The gardens offer not only instructional services to the

community, but they also offer volunteer and internship positions

to students.

Future services will include a fruit and vegetable garden, a

lawn garden area for acoustic concerts and a children’s garden.

“We consider ourselves to be a community-oriented botanical

garden,” Dolgin said. “We’re not so focused on the end result as

much as we are on the process of community participation.”

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