Fairchild Garden breaks ground on new Science Village project

By Paula Fernandez de los Muros….

Pictured at groundbreaking ceremony are (l-r) Carl Lewis, PhD, director, Fairchild Garden; Bruce Clinton; Martha Clinton; George Burgess, Miami-Dade county manager; Paul Di Mare; Swanee Di Mare; Bruce W. Greer, president, Fairchild Board of Trustees; Joyce Burns; Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez; Miami- Dade Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, and Coral Gables Mayor Don Slesnick.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden recently conducted a groundbreaking ceremony for the new state-of the- art Science Village, Tropical Research Labs, Café and Conservatory, a multi-million dollar science complex designed to nurture future environmental leaders in Miami and encourage a love and appreciation for the natural world.

Fairchild is a conservation- and education- based garden and a recognized leader in both Florida and international conservation.

“The Science Village is one more step in the guided pathway for students in our community to become leaders in conservation science,” said Carl E. Lewis, PhD, director of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. “Through our collaboration with Florida International University, the Science Village strengthens the educational pipeline for students considering careers in science and builds upon Fairchild Garden’s existing environmental educational programs for K-12.”

For the first time onsite at Fairchild, the planned Science Village will showcase the talent and accomplishments of Fairchild’s conservation team, whose scientists currently are housed in an off-site facility a mile south of the garden. Fairchild’s five-year vision is to support the Science Village with 10 PhD scientists, 20 PhD students and 40 undergraduate research students.

In addition to nurturing future conservation science leaders, goals include celebrating the diversity, knowledge and capacity for conservation in the community and the Caribbean and becoming a model for diverse communities throughout the world.

The Science Village will have labs for college and graduate students and full-sized, interactive classrooms that will allow for a cross-pollination of education and science, a high priority since the garden was founded.

Fairchild’s collaboration with Florida International University includes several joint staff members, among them Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega, a preeminent tropical island biologist, and staff member Dr. Kenneth Feeley, a world expert in climate change.

Led by Corwill Architects (construction architect) and Max Strang Architecture (design architect), The Science Village complex will feature state-of-the-art laboratories for tropical plant conservation. The important work by Fairchild scientists also will be fully accessible to visitors and students through the designed interactivity of the building.

With a total of more than 25,000 square feet, the Science Village complex, which will seek LEED certification, will include a new conservatory that will feature a world-class collection of orchids and butterflies, and the garden’s popular café will be expanded and will peer into the new conservatory and its menu broadened to include organic and locally grown food.

Fairchild is located at 10901 Old Cutler Rd. in Coral Gables. Admission is $25 for adults, $18 for seniors, $12 for children 6- 17 and free to children 5 and under as well as Fairchild members.

For more information, visit online at www.fairchildgarden.org and on Facebook and Twitter.

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