The lush Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens was initially founded to ensure that the city remained at the forefront of many diverse environmental and ecological issues. As a leader of environmentally sound community development and responsible change for the planet, the Arboretum is an amazing educational, recreational and cultural resource for the entire Kansas City region, as well as a potential greenhouse supplier.
Almost all the Arboretum (roughly 85 percent of the property) is dedicated to the restoration and preservation of naturally occurring ecosystems. The remainder of the grounds includes beautiful botanical gardens, an environmental educational visitors center (also known as EEVC), as well as standard maintenance facilities. The Arboretum has been honored with many awards over the course of its history, including many that support how family friendly this spot is; so make a visit to this fabulous place today to see for yourself why it has won so many awards and fans over the years.
The garden is open every day of the week with extended hours during the summer months. It is located at 8909 W. 179th St. in Overland. Visitors should take the time to familiarize themselves with the strict garden etiquette: There are no bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards, vacuum trucks, scooters or motorized vehicles of any kind allowed on the trails. Wheelchairs, however, are permitted. There is also no alcohol allowed within the grounds, and visitors are asked to treat the trails and gardens with respect; so do not remove any plants or other wildlife from the grounds, and leave everything as you found it. These rules ensure the longevity of this wonderful place so that generation after generation can continue to enjoy the beauty and wonder that this magnificent location provides.
If you are interested in getting more involved with the Arboretum, there is an excellent volunteer organization that anyone is welcome to join, known as the Friends of the Arboretum (FOTA for short). This group does a wide range of things, from maintaining the plants to fundraising and educational programs. For example, they are working to install tankless water heaters and wastewater recycling systems throughout the site, which reduce waterwaste. FOTA's overall mission is to preserve, enhance and promote the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Your level of involvement is up to you, and surely even one hour per week will help out this great foundation and worthy cause.
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Membership in the FOTA involves not only time, but money as well. As a member of this organization, you are expected to contribute monthly dues that are very manageable. These funds have gone a long way in the past; the wire duct system for instance has been recently upgraded thanks to the hard work and donations of these individuals. Membership also includes many great benefits, such as an annual plant sale that is for members only, plant/event/merchandise monetary discounts, and a lifetime subscription to FOTA's quarterly newsletter. In addition to the low membership dues, FOTA is supported by many generous individual and corporate donations along with income generated from the sale of donated items, ranging from gift certificates for local businesses to modern bathroom vanity sets.
Clearly there are many ways to get involved in this great establishment, even if that simply means a family trip to the gardens to enjoy a day filled with beauty and serenity.