Riparian Restoration Exhibit Garners Awards at the 2004 Philadelphia Flower Show
The hard work of the Temple University Ambler College landscape architecture and horticulture students and faculty was honored once more at the 2004 Philadelphia Flower Show.
Temple helped mark the 175th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Flower Show with an exhibit entitled "Riparian Restoration." The exhibit won the Special Achievement Award in Conservation from the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania. The Garden Club Federation presents awards to "exhibits of unusual excellence" in conservation, education, and horticulture.
This marked the third straight year that the Ambler campus garnered a major exhibitor award at the Flower Show. The exhibit was additional honored with a Philadelphia Flower Show Award in the Academic Education category from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
"I think this is a tribute to the dedication of the students. The design this year was directly developed by our students," said Dr. Mary Myers, Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture who coordinated the exhibit. "The students came in a week prior to the beginning of the semester and worked right through their spring break, which, I think, says something about their commitment to, and excitement for, this project."
Webster's defines "riparian" as "relating to or located on the bank of a natural watercourse," such as a river or stream. Temple University Ambler's exhibit defines "riparian restoration" as essential to our very way of life.
"Every decision we make, every building and design, affects our rivers. Around the world, fresh water, which is crucial for life, is threatened," said Myers. "Many locations, including Philadelphia, depend on rivers for their supply of drinking water. Creeks and streams feed directly into those rivers."
Temple University Ambler's "Riparian Restoration" exhibit visually demonstrates how plants can be used as an excellent, and aesthetic, buffer for water that drains into our essential freshwater resources - from backyard creeks to parkland stream corridors - and how these concepts may be incorporated with environmental protection. In addition to the vibrant display of plant life, the exhibit also incorporates a variety of environmentally conscious concepts, such as the use of porous, permeable paving and plantings used specifically for erosion control.
"With this exhibit, we wanted to educate visitors about the importance of protecting water resources and exactly how they can do it, from large scale to small scale," said Lisa Geyelin, a junior majoring in landscape architecture whose design was unanimously chosen by her fellow students as the basis for this year's exhibit. "We wanted to show them specific applications; what they can do right in their own backyard."
Temple continued its tradition of presenting environmentally focused exhibits while providing students a hands-on project unlike anything they might otherwise experience.
"I had never personally worked on construction before. With something like this, you're learning how to take something from paper and turn it into reality," said landscape architecture junior Bria Franklin. "It's a collaborative process that requires teamwork, time management, and flexibility. If something doesn't work out initially, you need to take the time to think it through and re-design it."
With about 300,000 visitors from all over the world at the week-long Pennsylvania Horticultural Society event, the concepts presented were shared with an extremely diverse audience.
The "natural landscape" of the Riparian Restoration exhibit included more than 650 perennials and 82 woody plants, according to Assistant Professor of Horticulture Sinclair Adam, who coordinated efforts in the Temple University Ambler Greenhouse to ready the plants for the Flower Show. The predominantly herbaceous perennials were nearly 100 percent native to this region.
Students in Temple University Ambler's Community and Regional Planning program were also directly involved in this year's exhibit for the first time, identifying key water resources that need protection within the region using advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping technology.
In 2002 and 2003, Temple took home "Best of Show" awards in the Academic Educational category for exhibits demonstrating the use of green roof technology and the use of graywater, water used for cleaning, which may be recycled and used for watering plants and gardens. The Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture was also awarded the prestigious Bulkley Medal of the Garden Club of America at the Flower Show in 2003.