Botanical Woodland Teaching Garden Opens In High Point

Botanical Woodland Teaching Garden Opens In High Point

7:06am Sep 23, 2019
The Botanical Woodland Teaching Garden sits on one acre of vacant city-owned land that was transformed by the Southwest Renewal Foundation whose members planted 76 native trees and shrubs. This colorful 10-foot-tall sculpture titled "MotherEarth" is one of several outdoor sculptures adorning the park. Photo credit: Paul Siceloff, SWRF Board Secretary.

The Botanical Woodland Teaching Garden is officially open. The block-wide park planted with 76 native trees and shrubs marks the beginning of the planned 6.4-mile Southwest High Point Heritage Greenway. 

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SWRF Executive Director Dorothy Darr (holding ribbon center) was among roughly 60 in attendance at the Botanical Woodland Teaching Garden opening ceremonies. Photo credit: Paul Siceloff, SWRF Board Secretary.

Located along Richland Creek on a defunct right-of-way in the Southside Neighborhood of southwest High Point, the woodland was designed to raise the quality of life for the low-income residents there. The botanical garden will create an early interest in ecology and the sciences among neighborhood children, provide access to nature, and safe hike and bike paths.  

Southwest Renewal Foundation Executive Director Dorothy Darr says the garden’s close proximity to the headwaters of two major watersheds in the North Carolina system will provide ecological benefits too.

“One is the Richland watershed which flows into Richland Creek and then down to the Randleman Reservoir which supplies our drinking water for much of High Point and Greensboro,” says Darr. 

The Botanical Woodland Teaching Garden is also at the headwaters of the Cape Fear River Basin.

“It’s the only river basin in North Carolina that flows directly into the Atlantic ocean,” says Darr. “So, what we do upstream, which we are here in southwest High Point, makes a big difference downstream. It not only increases the quality of life for the residents who live around these surface waters but also influences our neighbors downstream and throughout the state.”

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Pictured from left to right: retired judge, Sammie Chess, Guildford County Commissioner Carlvena Foster, civil rights activist Mary Lou Blakeney, and attorney Jim Morgan. Photo credit: Phyllis Bridges.

 

The Garden is enhanced by outdoor sculptures and a newly unveiled historical marker honoring Rev. Benjamin Elton Cox. Cox was the pastor of Pilgrim Congregational Church in southwest High Point from 1958 to 1968, and an active participant in the civil rights movement. Cox began desegregation efforts in local schools and served as an advisor for the NAACP Youth Council before becoming the executive director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

Plans are for the Southwest High Point Heritage Greenway to eventually stretch from the Amtrak station in downtown High Point to the Interstate 85 business loop on the southwest side of the city.

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