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Alice H. Richards Children's Garden at UGA

UGA Today

The University of Georgia State Botanical Garden has hired a designer and a construction manager for the future Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden.

Plans for the children’s garden will be led by Koons Environmental Design, of Athens. Allstate Construction, of Perry, will oversee a superintendent based in Athens for the project. Both companies have had a successful history in working with UGA on other projects. Jennifer Cruse-Sanders, Director at the State Botanical Gardens of Georgia, explained that the companies will help to carry out initial designs for the garden.

“And once we had our design team, we hired Koons Environmental Design from Athens to really interpret the schematic that was developed a few years ago and take the initial schematic for what we’d like to bring to the State Botanical Gardens and interpret it into what will eventually guide construction,’ Cruse-Sanders said. “

Alice H. Richards was a charter member of the State Botanical Garden Board of Advisors and one of the garden’s most devoted and beloved supporters until her death in 2007. The Richards family, initiated fundraising for the garden by gifting $1 million to the UGA State Botanical Garden.

“Alice H. Richards was one of our early garden Board of Advisors Members,” Cruse-Sanders said. “And before she died, this was a very important project to her, so she gave a very generous gift to the university so that the garden could be created. And we’ve been fundraising off of that initial gift in order to create the 5 million dollar children’s garden.”

The garden’s board of advisors and UGA partnered to raise money for this project. So far, the two entities have raised more than $4.3 million. To continue fundraising efforts locally, the garden launched a Georgia Funder crowdfunding page in March, with a goal of raising $10,000 by Sept. 8.

The 2.5 acre garden will include a canopy walk in the trees, a tree house, creature habitats, hands-on garden plots, an underground zone, edible landscapes, and a bog garden and pond. One component, an amphitheater in the woods, was completed in 2015. However, The garden is expected to be open to visitors by early 2019.