Terra’s Cindy and Rob Thompson headed to Birmingham to lead a week-long workshop with stakeholders, city officials and Gardens staff to “Refresh, Engage, and Celebrate” the Gardens’ visitor experience. It was an action packed and productive week that included hours of invigorating discussion and “what if’s”, lots of doodling and noodling, and side trips to the neighboring Birmingham Zoo, Sloss Furnace, and Jones Valley Teaching Farm.
This visit is the third in as many months for Team Terra and the folks from Birmingham. In September Cindy headed south to meet with Tom Underwood, Executive Director of The Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Jane Underwood, Operations Manager, and Molly Hendry, Gardens Assessment Project Leader, to brainstorm design ideas for expanding the Gardens’ presence to its edges. During this session, “The Point”, an underutilized triangular tract of land at the southern tip of the Gardens, was identified for its tremendous potential to become a signature branding moment for thousands of daily visitors as they travel past this area. The charette agenda included testing a full-scale mockup of the identification sign’s visibility as well as developing lots of sketches on trace paper!
And more recently, in October Cindy and Rob joined Board members and Friends’ staff from the Birmingham Botanical Garden in a visit to Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio. FPC’s Executive Director, Bruce Harkey, and the Gardens' leadership team spent the morning sharing internal and administrative strategies with the group. We then explored the Conservatory and headed outside to the Children’s Garden and Community Garden Campus. The group from Birmingham came way with many inspirational ideas and excitement for the Master Plan Refresh that Terra will lead into 2019.
We look forward to returning in the New Year to help frame projects earmarked for their next capital campaign!