Proof is especially evident in Iowa City, where Backyard Abundance has implemented a new program, called Abundant Safari.
If you’re in Iowa City on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, check out the group’s Urban Edible Landscaping Tour from 2-4 p.m.
Abundant Safari is a self-guided tour of local natural sites and innovative sustainability projects. Ten sites are already on the list; another 10 will be added next year.
The program launches with today’s tour, beginning at the City Plaza Children’s Garden next to the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn Street.
Director Fred Meyer notes that while targeting area children, it is available to all residents at any time.
Find information to design a walk, bike or car tour using the website: AbundantSafari.com.
The program highlights outstanding natural areas in Iowa City and provides a framework to explore the sites, have fun and learn about nature.
Destinations include Iowa City public gardens, parks, prairies, wetlands and recycling sites.
A sign post with a rubbing tile awaits visitors at each site. Residents can download a journal-style guidebook from the website with which they can take rubbings, learn about features at each site, and document their experiences. Families are eligible to receive a prize upon visiting all 10 sites.
This new project complements Backyard Abundance’s mission: to help build vibrant communities by creating beautiful, resilient landscapes that provide healthy food and habitat.
Key funding for Abundant Safari comes from a Community Foundation of Johnson County grant. Support from area businesses supplements the grant.
Meyer, in announcing the program, highlighted issues which prompted the development of this program. He mentioned a growing local concern about the way that children and adults are isolated from the natural world. Meyer said, “This project ties these beautiful destinations into a single program and creates a gaming framework to encourage community exploration, exercise, and learning about nature. Many people are looking for ways to make changes in their lifestyle to use fewer resources and live more sustainably. We are excited that this exploration will introduce them to many possibilities.”
Meyer pointed out that research shows that many children spend less than one hour per week outdoors in the natural world, resulting in behavior problems, higher stress levels, and decreased physical fitness. Participating in programs like the Abundant Safari can affect children positively.
Meyer also said that the cities of Iowa City and Coralville have identified water management as an important concern and provide funding to homeowners to install rain gardens and other methods that prevent runoff from property. Several Abundant Safari destinations show ways to clean and manage water through prairie plantings and wetlands. Abundant Safari sites also demonstrate sustainable recycling practices and edible landscape design.
Families and classrooms will be able to take advantage of the scavenger hunt nature of Abundant Safari and utilize the educational signage at each site for learning opportunities. Other residents can use the program to learn about the natural and sustainable features of the Iowa City community and become more connected to beautiful natural areas.
Here is more about the tour: Sun., Sept. 9, 2-4 p.m., Edible Urban Landscape Walking Tour. Downtown Iowa City. New urban plantings bring food, beauty, and educational activities to downtown Iowa City! Backyard Abundance and New Pioneer have created oases of greenery to inspire new uses of public and private lawn space. Each site on this walking/biking tour features different types of edibles ranging from corn to aronia berries and everything in between. The tour can be walked in 1-2 hours. Refreshments, tour guides, and informational handouts will be available at each site. For details, visit AbundantSafari.com Urban landscape sites (more to come): New Pi’s Soilmates’ Children’s Educational Vegetable Garden at IC Public Library: 123 S. Linn St., Recreation Center Children’s Discovery Garden: 220 S. Gilbert St., and Chauncey Swan Park Edible Landscape: 460 E. Washington St. Also New Pioneer Iowa City store Administration Building Edible Landscape: 523 Iowa Ave. and New Pioneer Alley Orchard along Ralston Creek east of Iowa City Co-op store. This tour is helping launch Abundant Safari, Iowa City’s new self-guided adventure through environmentally abundant landscapes. Backyard Abundance created the program and helped design and implement three of the sites on the tour. More information can be found on the website: http://AbundantSafari.com.
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