“We do not inherit the earth from our parents. We borrow it from our children.” – Moses Cass
The goal of sustainability is to preserve the environment for generations to come. Green Bay Botanical Garden is committed to making earth-friendly choices in our gardening practices and facility choices.
The Stumpf Hobbit House makes a visit to the bathroom fun, but it’s also a model for green building designs. It’s equipped with energy efficient features such as solar light tubes, water efficient toilets and sinks, and energy saving Dyson air blade hand-dryers. It’s most noticeable feature is being built into the hillside, which minimizes the building’s heating and cooling needs while the green roof lowers storm water runoff and provides habitat for garden critters.
Restrooms in the Schneider Education Center, the Concessions Building, and the Stumpf Hobbit House have toilets with a dual flush option. Dual flush means that each toilet has two flush options to only use the amount of water necessary: one flush that uses 1.1 gallons of water to flush away liquid waste, or a heavier 1.6 gallon flush to help dispose of solid waste. Saving ½ gallon of water may not sound like much, but with more than 100,000 visitors each year, this water savings adds up quickly!
The Vietnam Veterans Garden is located on a dry hillside with southern exposer which makes it an ideal location for a xeriscape garden. This style of gardening features drought tolerant plants (native and non-native). These hardy plants require less watering, less fertilizing, and less pest prevention meaning water saving of 50-75% as well as a fertilizer and pesticides free garden. The native plants, trees, and shrubs also offer a familiar habitat for local wildlife.
The Schneider Family Grand Garden is a native and prairie grass area with a focus on holistic and native gardening. These plants do not require additional watering during times of drought since they are native to the region and can typically handle our yearly climate.
In the fall, our Horticulturists cut back the native perennials, but leave a third of the stalks or plant matter as habitat for local wildlife and beneficial insects. The plant matter pieces are also left on the ground to act as a natural mulch.
Green Bay Botanical Garden believes recycling should be a priority. In all areas of the building, clearly marked recycling bins are located next to every trash can.
In addition to recycling paper, aluminum, and plastic, the Garden collects weeds and yard waste produced by our Horticulturists. A lunchroom compost program also collects food scraps from staff lunches and coffee grounds from the WPS Trellis Gift Shop to reduce the amount of organic waste going into the landfill.
The Schneider Education Center, built in 2011, features sustainable technologies to help increase air quality, energy efficiency and waste reduction. The most visible feature is the inverted, V-shape rooftop, which floods more daylight into the building and cutting down on the need for artificial light.
To help care of our rose collection, gardeners have switched from chemical fertilizers to a mixture of composted turkey litter fertilizer, called Sustane, and compost from Purple Cow Organics. We also use integrated pest management, which focuses on natural methods to remove insect pests. Using this method helps limit spraying of insecticides to only the hybrid tea, grandiflora and floribunda roses and only if absolutely necessary.
Weeds in the Garden are controlled mainly by hand pulling. Although tedious, this method eliminates the need for chemicals and tilling, both of which can disrupt the soil ecosystem.
Green Bay Botanical Garden is also transitioning seldom used turf areas to no-mow seed mixes that require less frequent mowing. As a result, these turf areas require less fossil fuel and can become habitats for insects and other animals.
Each year, the Garden grows about 20,000 annuals from seed. We reuse our horticultural plastic from previous years by sterilizing pots and carry trays each winter. This reuse of materials cuts back on plastic waste.
We water the majority of our plants by hand with a watering wand. Although a bit time consuming, this allows us to use the right amount of water for each plant in the Garden. Automatic systems are difficult to adjust when accounting for rain and individual plant needs, so we are saving water and also preventing plants from dying due to over or under watering.
Green Bay Botanical Garden is Travel Green Wisconsin certified! The Garden is one of just two certified businesses in Green Bay. We have met many of their requirements that demonstrate we are dedicated to sustainability and environmental health. In fact, we met 75 requirements, well over the required score of 30! Some of these requirements included distributing info about living sustainably, using fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent, maintaining a recycling program, using day lighting sensors that reduce the energy used for lighting, installing low flow fixtures and using organic fertilizers.