Native Garden – Grand Opening – October 4th, 2014
The dream of a Santa Maria Valley “Native Garden” surrounding the Natural History Museum first came to light in 2003 when Isabelle Green, a nationally renowned landscape architect, spoke at one of our Museum Speaker’s event. She designed the initial plans that would serve as the catalyst for our future Native Garden Project. In 2010, the Board of Directors began to research fund raising concepts to involve the community for this project. By 2011, the Museum’s Penny Drive had raised over $10,000 to initiate the project. With the enthusiastic backing of the Community, the Board and Volunteer Staff, the dream of the Native Garden was on its way to becoming a reality! The Native Garden Committee has been hard at work planning, researching and fundraising for the Native Garden based on Isabelle Green’s original vision to create an attractive, inviting environment where students and the greater community will become engaged in the native plant history of the Santa Maria Valley. The garden will demonstrate historic uses of plants focused on the time of the late 1700’s and will encourage water conservation and sustainable practices. The garden will become an extension of the museum experience and will also provide a gathering place for community events.
The Native Garden will bring the wildlife and plant life of the shoreline, foothills and mountains into the center of Santa Maria. This will be Santa Maria’s first Native Garden and will in fact, extend the walls of the Natural of History Museum to the edges of the property by creating various “areas of interest” filled with ancient plants and ferns. These areas include: the Story Circle, Chumash Garden with plants and their uses, Chumash Pictograph Patio created by Chumash children, Hummingbird and Butterfly Attractors, Interactive Kiosk, Water Feature, Museum Front Flagstone Patio and the Shoreline Sea Mammal Exhibit. It also features the grand mural “Looking to the Dunes” meant to be a “step back in time” with a view looking west towards the ocean, dunes and shoreline as it might have been in the 1700’s on display on the rear wall of the Hart House.