Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

June 01, 2000

Gosling wildlife gardens to expand

The Gosling Wildlife Gardens in the University of Guelph's Arboretum are growing in more ways than one.

The gardens' founders, Philip and Jean Gosling, have donated $50,000 towards a future development that will see the gardens expand more than eightfold over the next three years. The $50,000 gift is just the beginning of what Arboretum director Prof. Alan Watson anticipates will be a more than $2 million fund-raising project.

"Obviously, I'm thrilled by the gift and the plans to expand the gardens," Watson said. "It's going to change in a positive way the Arboretum and the way people use it."

The Gosling Wildlife Gardens were created in 1989 after an initial donation from the Gosling family. "It wouldn't have happened without their support," Watson said. "The gardens were among the first wildlife gardens in Canada and became a blueprint for similar projects throughout the country."

The Gosling Wildlife Gardens include five gardens on the scale of urban and suburban backyards: the Butterfly, Moth and Hummingbird Garden; the Lawn; the Prairie Garden; the Suburban Garden: and the Small City Garden. They include trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants that provide food and cover for wildlife, and are intended to motivate visitors to do similar plantings in their own backyards to increase the diversity of habitats and wildlife species.

The expansion will link other collections in the Arboretum to the Gosling Wildlife Gardens, including the wild goose pond area, gravel pit rehabilitation, gene bank and native trees of Ontario collections, as well as the Japanese and English gardens and interpretive and visitors' centres.

The Goslings have committed to providing additional substantial donations throughout the project and intend to help the Arboretum seek other donations to fund the expansion. "The Goslings have always been role models for other donors, and their funding is a starting point that encourages other donors to come forward," says Watson.

The Arboretum has been an oasis in the community for 29 years. It is the largest and most comprehensive arboretum of any university in Ontario, featuring more than 3,000 different kinds of woody plants that are displayed in publicly accessible collections and formal gardens.

Each year, the Arboretum hosts 75,000 visitors, including faculty, staff and students, Guelph residents and visitors from other provinces and other countries. About 45,000 people participate in organized workshops, guided tours, dinner theatre and special events.

Contact: Prof. Alan Watson, director University of Guelph Arboretum (519) 824-4120, Ext. 2356

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, 824-4120, Ext. 3338

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