Honey Bee Festival - April 27

Posted on April 04, 2013 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

For Immediate Release
April 4, 2013

Contact: Erin Grajek, Director of Marketing

716.827.1584 ext. 204 -

Celebrate the Honey Bee, an Insect that has Much to Give Us and Much to Teach Us!

Buffalo, NY – The Botanical Gardens announces a Honey Bee Festival featuring Dr. Thomas Seeley on April 27 from 10:00am-2:00pm.  Honey bees are critically important pollinators.  In the course of gathering nectar from flowers, bees transport and disperse pollen in ways that make possible the growth of fruits, nuts, and seeds.  This festival will provide us with insight into what is happening within the beehive, show us the feasibility of beekeeping in our own backyards, and make available for purchase some of the fruits of the labor of honeybees. 

How important are honeybees? Commercial honey bee operations pollinate crops responsible for one out of every three bites of food on our tables. The importance of honey bees makes their precarious status a concern for all of us.  Since 2006 beekeepers across North America have experienced a bewildering phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  Adult bees appear to abandon the hive, leaving the queen and insect larvae behind unable to sustain themselves.  Will we have to find alternative ways to grow much of our food?  What will happen to the price and availability of fruits, nuts, and vegetables?

Although there is intense research to identify and rectify the root causes, the annual die-off of honey bees has become increasingly dramatic.  It is critically important that humans understand what goes on in and around the beehive so we can help stem the tide of honeybee decline and promote re-population.  Honey and beeswax, products of the beehive, enhance our lives in many ways. We need to appreciate that healthy honeybees give us something even more significant as they drift from flower to flower – the pollination of plants essential to our food supply as well as flowers for our enjoyment. 

The festival schedule is as follows: 10am-2pm - Vendors & Demonstrations will include honey bee information, honey and bees’ wax vendors and more!  Learn about the bee hive structure created by UB architecture students housing honeybees in front of the grain elevators near the Ohio Street Bridge.  Gaze as bees tend brood in an observation hive (behind glass).  11am-12pm - Lecture from Dr. Thomas Seeley - Dr. Seeley, a professor at Cornell University, will speak on the subject of his latest book, Honey Bee  Democracy.  The fascinating story of decision-making within the hive is guaranteed to pique your interest.  If you pre-order a copy of the book, purchase one the day of the lecture or bring your personal copy, Dr. Seeley has agreed to do a book signing.  Honey Bee Democracy may be pre-ordered and picked-up at the festival for $25 per copy or purchased the day of the festival for $28 a copy.  1-2pm - Lecture from Barbara Ochterski, Local Beekeeper - Barbara will discuss the basics of backyard beekeeping, followed by an informal question and answers session.

The Honeybee Festival is made possible by the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens and Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Erie County.  Tickets for the lectures are $5 Students, $10 Garden Members and Master Gardeners and $15 Non-Members.  The vendors and demonstrations are available to all visitors at no charge.

For more information visit us at  The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Society, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing appreciation for and knowledge of plant life and its connection to people and cultures through its documented living plant collection, historic conservatory, education, research and exhibits.

Click here for tickets!

Spring Flower Show Video

Posted on March 29, 2013 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

Spring Flower Show is in FULL BLOOM!  Check out our colorful video!


Click here for more info!

Bloomin' Art Show Video

Posted on March 29, 2013 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

Bloomin' Art Show at the Gardens' Arcangel Gallery - Check it out!


Click here for more info!

Lifecycles Exhibit - the video

Posted on March 25, 2013 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

Lifecycles Exhibit - the video... check it out!

Architecture students envision future of Botanical Gardens

Posted on March 21, 2013 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

Architecture students envision future of Botanical Gardens

“LifeCycles,” an exhibition of six of the top student designs for the Botanical Gardens, is on view at the gardens through April 7. Photo: NEREA FELIZ 

Published in the UB Reporter - By RACHEL TEAMAN

Published March 21, 2013

It was late 2011 when the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens approached UB’s Department of Architecture with a design challenge.

A popular destination for weddings, the Botanical Gardens often is forced to crowd its exhibit areas to make room for events. An orangery—fashionable in the 19th century as a greenhouse to protect citrus trees in the winter and host celebrations in the summer, when the plants were moved outside—could provide the Botanical Gardens with this needed flexibility. How could students help envision design possibilities for such an expansion of the historic facilities of the Botanical Gardens?

In response to that request, a group of undergraduate architecture students has generated more than 60 design strategies that consider not only the orangery, but the entire Botanical Gardens footprint, its collections and surrounding landscape. Their work is the product of an 18-month collaboration that began with a design studio last spring and culminated with the recent opening of “LifeCycles,” an exhibition of six of the top student designs, on view at the Botanical Gardens through April 7.

“This has been a spectacular collaboration,” says David J. Swarts, CEO and president of the Botanical Gardens, which feature a tri-domed conservatory, greenhouses and outdoor gardens on 11.4 acres at the entrance to Buffalo’s historic South Park. “These student designs will now serve as the basis for a public dialogue about the future life of the Botanical Gardens.”

Omar Khan, associate professor and chair of the Department of Architecture, says the design studio was intended as a visioning exercise. Planned in partnership with the Botanical Gardens and informed by the facility’s master plan, the studio asked students to consider the site’s historical and natural context, as well as broader patterns in plant migration, climate change and innovations in horticultural science.

“The goal was to propose provocative and pragmatic ideas for the future visioning of the Botanical Gardens, as well as Buffalo,” Khan explains. The studio was taught by Jordan Geiger, studio coordinator and assistant professor of architecture; Brian Carter, professor of architecture; visiting assistant professors Nerea Feliz and Curt Gambetta; and Brad Wales, assistant professor of architecture.

The project grew in scope and ambition as students and faculty engaged with Botanical Gardens staff and volunteers through interviews, site visits and research. For instance, their conversations with botanists led to the studio’s incorporation of the “Buffalo Meridian” theme, envisioned as a garden that traverses the globe along the 79th longitude. Thus, each student project proposes a demonstration garden with plant life from eight different biomes, from Canada to Chile to China. To accommodate such plant diversity, student designs also propose solutions to heating and ventilation, lighting and spatial organization.

In addition to this, students needed to balance a contemporary addition with the site’s historic main building, designed by Lord & Burnham in the late 1800s and one of only a dozen large Victorian conservatories left in the U.S. Designs also needed to resolve circulation patterns and spatial distribution for the building’s use as both garden exhibit and special event venue. Climate control played significantly into design concepts, both to accommodate plant diversity and support sustainable energy consumption.

The six projects featured in “LifeCycles” were selected by faculty, outside design critics and Botanical Gardens staff for their creative approaches to each of these challenges. These students have spent the past few months advancing their designs and developing professional scale models for the exhibit, valuable experience for these graduating seniors.

The entire experience has been challenging and exciting, says Vincent Ribeiro, whose project, “Selective Branching,” is featured in the exhibit.

The goal of the studio, according to Omar Khan, chair of the Department of Architecture, was to propose "provocative and pragmatic ideas for the future visioning of the Botanical Gardens, as well as Buffalo."

“The definition of an orangery was so open for us. We took the whole building and broke down every single aspect of it and asked: Is the space laid out in the best possible way? Are the plants in the right spot? This is also the first real exhibit any of us has ever worked on. It’s definitely an important stepping stone for all of our futures.”

His design is a network of steel arches with a fabric membrane that can expand and contract as exhibits evolve and space needs change. Designated zones for plants and special events address competing needs for space, while ventilation systems allow exhibits to stay in place as the weather changes.

Marc Velocci’s “Adaptation” proposes a similar solution by affixing the orangery structure to tracks that adjust the building’s size to host different collections and exhibits.

Timothy Boll’s “Convective Gardens” uses natural convection and a series of exhibit platforms strategically suspended around a ground-level hot source and an elevated cold source. Not only does the design optimize energy consumption, but it allows for a seamless experience of the entire Buffalo Meridian collection. And to keep guests comfortable, winter events can be held on the heated platform and summer events on the cold source.

Christa Trautman’s “Carving Coherence” and Nathaniel Heckman’s “Orbits” both seek to unite the old and the new, with designs that pay homage to the Lord & Burnham main building. Trautman proposes a terraced excavated garden that mimics the forms of the existing domes. Heckman’s orbiting path of exhibits encircles the dome building, envisioned as the main space for events.

Lauren Colley’s “Botanical Immersion” blends the indoor and outdoor garden experience through a series of 10 glass pavilions, eight for the Buffalo Meridian exhibits and two for special events. A mesh canopy of living matter indigenous to the region would provide shade in the summer and recede to make way for needed sunlight in the winter. “Across the building, when transitioning between spaces, visitors will often question whether they are inside or outside, and will feel as though they are totally immersed in the gardens,” Colley says.

Nerea Feliz has directed the six students over the past semester, while also designing the “LifeCycles” exhibit. “These projects, by six very talented students, are engaging precisely because they challenge our ideas and expectations of place,” she says, adding that all 60 design strategies from the original studio are being compiled in a book that will be presented to the Botanical Gardens to further inform its expansion plan.

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