Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens Programs
Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens is a fifty- three acre woodland garden and forest preserve. There are 10 acres of display gardens with a focus on Rhododendrons and over 5 miles of trails through second growth forest. The Gardens present to our visitors the serene beauty and nature of Whidbey Island.
The primary functions of Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens are environmental preservation and public education. The gardens represent a unique opportunity for scientific study and research, as well as an important cultural resource for our community.
One key focus is youth development. Our Botany Adventure program represents the cornerstone of our educational outreach, introducing students to the natural sciences through an approach that emphasizes environmental stewardship and responsibility.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In early 2010, in response to diminishing water quality of Puget Sound, an experimental Rain Garden was constructed in order to demonstrate sustainable and effective waste water management. The Rain Garden filters surface run-off as a bio-filter while providing an excellent educational opportunity. The Rain Garden filters the water prior to its entering the drainage pipes, and provides water and plants for insect, bird and animal habitats.
We need funding to continue our Botany Adventure program, and support to maintain the pathways and landscapes of the Gardens. Each year the costs to provide Botany Adventure steadily climb as more and more students sign up to experience this important program.
Additionally, pathways, trails and our arboretum require considerable care to prevent overgrowth, water damage, and natural erosion. General support is also a welcome, facilitating the growth and expansion of our organization.