Legislature Creates Alaska Public Gardens Day
Bill would establish day to recognize unique role of public gardens in Alaska
JUNEAU - Today, the Alaska Legislature established Alaska Public Gardens Day on the Saturday immediately preceding Memorial Day each year. In doing so, the Legislature recognized the role gardens play in promoting environmental stewardship, the economy, education, plant conservation, recreation and research in Alaska.
"Alaska's public gardens contribute heavily to our sense of community," said Representative Beth Kerttula (D-Juneau), prime sponsor of the bill. "They are tourism destinations and are great places for local children and adults to learn about gardening, ecology, and science."
Public gardens partner with other organizations to provide school-based education programs, public health education programs and community and school gardens. They provide workforce training sites for youth and adults in transition and work on habitat restoration. In addition, they provide information on how to choose regionally appropriate plants that are native to the area for landscaping purposes.
National public gardens day is May 6th, too early in the growing season to be appropriate for Alaska. That is why House Bill 18 establishes Alaska Public Gardens Day on the Saturday immediately preceding Memorial Day each year.
While Alaska has three American Public Garden Association member gardens: the Alaska Botanical Garden in Anchorage; the University of Alaska Fairbanks Georgeson Botanical Garden in Fairbanks; and the Jensen-Olson Arboretum in Juneau, there are valuable public gardens in many Alaska communities. Each plays an important role in their community and in helping to preserve northern latitude plants.
The bill (HB 18) passed the Senate 20-0 and now goes to Governor Parnell for his signature.