It’s not just about flowers.
Temple University Ambler students are participating in the Philadelphia Flower Show this week, but not in a way most people would expect. These students have been working for months on an exhibit that will inform the public about ways to protect, enhance and restore freshwater resources.
Their exhibit, titled “Riparian Restoration,” is being showcased this week at the 175th Annual Flower Show and will continue until Sunday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center at 12th and Arch streets.
The exhibit visually demonstrates how plants can be used as a buffer for water that drains into freshwater resources. Students also explain how these concepts can be incorporated into environmental protection on a broader scale.
“The design this year was directly developed by our students,” Mary Myers, an associate professor of landscape architecture who is coordinating the exhibit, said in a press release. “The students came in a week prior to the beginning of the semester and [are working] right through their spring break, which I think says something about their commitment to and excitement for this project.”
At the beginning of the semester, students learned about the basic concepts of riparian restoration and then developed original designs to work with. The students unanimously chose Lisa Geyelin’s design, a junior Landscape Architecture major.
The students’ display attempts to educate visitors about how they can protect water resources with specific applications and ideas they can re-create in their own backyards. The exhibit features a walkway that winds through a variety of plants, including 650 perennials and 82 woody plants, and a running stream. It also showcases a fully restored stream corridor.
“In a riparian situation, plants serve a number of roles, from incepting atmospheric moisture to stabilizing stream banks to extracting chemicals,” assistant professor of horticulture Sinclair Adam said. “I think the exhibit is an opportunity to demonstrate how plant arrays go together and see how they can restore a riparian community.”
Temple’s Community and Regional Planning students are also involved in this year’s exhibit for the first time. They’ve identified key water resources within the Philadelphia region using Geographic Information Systems mapping technology.
Ambler students are competing in the Academic Educational category at the Flower Show this week. For the past two years, Temple students won “Best of Show” awards for demonstrating the use of green roof technology and graywater, water that can be recycled and used for cleaning.
In 2003, the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture received the prestigious Bulkley Medal of the Garden Club of America, which is for increasing the horticultural awareness of the viewing public.
The Philadelphia Flower Show will be open until this Sunday. For more information, call 215-988-8899 or visit their website at www.philaflowershow.com.
Barbara J. Isenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.