Tuesday, September 18, 2012  |   Email   Print

Cleveland Botanical Garden First in Ohio to Earn Sustainable Sites Certification

Cleveland Botanical Garden’s commitment to conservation earned certification from the Sustainable Sites Initiative this week, making it the first organization in Ohio and one of just 11 nationwide to receive the designation.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) announced eight newly certified projects, including the Garden’s effort to integrate best green practices into its operations and landscaping techniques while also showing its guests how to do the same at their own houses and places of work. Of the eight organizations to receive SITES certification this week, the Garden was the only one to achieve a three-star rating.

“The Garden is committed to promoting green living to our guests and the Greater Cleveland community at large, and the best way to do that is by example,” says Garden Executive Director Natalie Ronayne. “We hope people will come to the Garden, see what we do here to preserve the environment and then take home some ideas of what they can do.”

Sustainable features added as part of the Garden’s two-year effort to achieve SITES certification include a low-maintenance lawn along East Boulevard, a rain garden that captures runoff, native plants and a green roof that reduces energy costs and slows stormwater runoff.

Also, the Garden now trains all new employees in green practices and has established a “Sustainability Action Committee” that monitors Garden operations to ensure adherence to sustainable practices. The committee has set a goal of reducing the Garden’s ecological footprint by 15 percent in two years.

While some conservation efforts are behind the scenes – such as composting leftover food from the Garden Café– others are more apparent. The Woodland Garden, for example, now showcases 200 native plant species where invasive plants once grew, according to Director of Horticulture Cynthia Druckenbrod, who spearheaded the Garden’s attempt to gain SITES certification. Fairmount Minerals in Chardon provided funding for the Garden to implement many of the sustainability measures.

SITES is a partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden that rates the sustainability of built landscapes and is at the conclusion of its two-year pilot program.

Cleveland Botanical Garden is an ever-changing urban escape where you’ll find enrichment and inspiration through fabulous gardens, an exotic Glasshouse and enchanting events. We make our community greener and healthier by growing young lives and restoring land throughout the city.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Tom O'Konowitz, tokonowitz@cbgarden.org, 216.707.2818 

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