- Bartholdi Park in Washington DC achieves SITES Gold certification
The renovation of Bartholdi Park at the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) is complete, and the new garden is a showcase of sustainable gardening. The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America and informs the one-million-plus annual visitors about the importance and fundamental value and diversity of plants, as well as their aesthetic, cultural, economic, therapeutic and ecological significance. The USBG strives to demonstrate and promote sustainable practices. Created in 1932, Bartholdi Park has served as a demonstration garden for more than 80 years and until 2016 had not undergone a complete renovation since its original construction.
The renovation provided an opportunity to increase accessibility and showcase the Sustainable SITES Initiative in action. SITES was developed by the USBG along with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin and the American Society of Landscape Architects. Administered by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), SITES offers stakeholders a tool to develop the territory and a comprehensive rating system designed to distinguish sustainable landscapes, measure their performance and elevate their value. SITES certification is for development projects located on sites with or without buildings, ranging from national parks to corporate campuses, streetscapes to homes, and more.
The SITES Gold development of Bartholdi Park “serves as a model for communities looking to build a healthy and prosperous future for residents and visitors,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC and GBCI. " “Through the use of SITES, certified projects are creating ecologically resilient communities, reducing water demand, improving air quality and connecting people to nature. Bartholdi Park at the U.S. Botanic Garden is teaching us about the countless benefits we can achieve when sustainable strategies are applied to our landscapes.”
Indeed, the project focused on the five key areas of the SITES system: water, soil, plants, materials and human health. There are ten rain gardens to capture rainfall and the impervious surface area was reduced. The gardens in Bartholdi Park showcase native plants of the Mid-Atlantic region and a collection of edible plants in permanent and seasonal plantings. Many of the large trees and shrubs already on the site were saved and others were relocated. Topsoil was removed, enriched with organic compost and returned to the park for the new plantings. The soil was also protected from compaction to foster permeability. For this reason, the existing concrete sidewalks were replaced with more environmentally-friendly solutions. Programmes to promote human health include yoga and guided walks, and extra seating, a water fountain, and bicycle parking were also added. Explanations are also given for the sustainable features, providing visitors with inspiration for how to apply these principles at home.
Bartholdi Park is like a pilot project of sustainability for everyone in the heart of Washington D.C., a blueprint we hope will spread further.
Project: USBG together with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin and the American Society of Landscape Architects
Location: Washington DC
Images: Courtesy of USBG - https://www.usbg.gov/