FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, June 8, 2005
Mayor Hickenlooper Launches Community Conservation Gardens Project
New youth conservation initiative promotes stewardship and sustainability
(DENVER) Joined by members of the Mile High Youth Corps, Mayor John Hickenlooper launched the City’s new Community Conservation Gardens Project on Wednesday morning in front of the City and County Building. Part of the City’s recently announced Sustainable Development Initiative, the Community Conservation Gardens Project will engage teens from Denver’s underserved neighborhoods in beautifying and transforming four prominent Denver Parks and Recreation public spaces into models of low-water landscaping.
“Here in Colorado we know all too well how scarce our water resources can be, yet more than half of Denver Water’s treated drinking water is used on private landscapes in the summertime,” said Mayor Hickenlooper. “Our goal with the Community Conservation Gardens Project is to promote the use of low-water plants, by demonstrating to Denver residents that they can still have beautiful gardens while conserving water.”
Participating youth will not only gain experience in conservation gardening, they will receive job training and mentoring in “green industry” professions and provide community outreach and education about water-conserving landscape practices.
“This exciting new program embraces Denver Parks and Recreation’s continued commitment to wise water management, amenity enhancements and youth development,” said Kim Bailey, manager of Denver Parks and Recreation. “It is especially wonderful that this program will involve aspects of both our parks and recreation divisions; uniting our department in a unique way.”
The Community Conservation Gardens Project is a joint effort between the Mayor’s Sustainable Development Initiative, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Division of Workforce Development, and the Mile High Youth Corps. Partners include the Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Water, the Gates Family Foundation, The Park People, and Green Industries of Colorado.
“We are grateful for these vital community partnerships,” Hickenlooper said. “This is a wonderful example of organizations pooling their resources and working together to not only promote sustainable practices, but to also prepare the next generation for stewardship of our natural resources.”
The first of four Community Conservation Gardens, located in front of the City and County Building, was planted during Wednesday’s event. It features low-water irrigation technology and PlantSelect™ perennials in a formal garden designed by Denver Botanic Gardens staff with help from the Denver Parks and Recreation Department.
The other three gardens will be designed and planted with community involvement over the course of the summer with help from the Mile High Youth Corps. These beds will be located at three recreation centers: the Highland Senior Center, Montbello Recreation Center and Harvey Park Recreation Center. Plans and plant lists for the gardens will be available to the public for use in their own landscapes.
“Our goal is for these gardens to provide beautiful public spaces that prove xeriscaping does not mean zero-scaping,” Hickenlooper said. “By demonstrating different styles and approaches to low-water landscaping, these gardens represent a tremendous educational resource for our residents and long-term opportunity for greater water conservation.”
The City of Denver’s Sustainable Development Initiative, led by Beth Conover, promotes the citywide importance of sustainable practices focused around water, energy, and land use/transportation.
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