The UCF Arboretum opened its glass doors to the public on March 26 — that is to say, the glass doors to the new Arboretum that was constructed earlier this month.
In a ribbon-cutting ceremony held inside the greenhouse itself, Patrick Bohlen, director of the UCF Arboretum, gave an overview of what the greenhouse will be used for.
He said that it will support Arboretum programming by providing space to propagate plants for the community garden, among its other educational roles.
"It will also support teaching and research opportunities for students and staff and faculty in the department of biology as well as the research that we support here at the Arboretum," he said.
That may sound like a lot of uses for one building, and it is.
“We already have a huge demand for the space,” said Jennifer Elliott, coordinator of the UCF Arboretum. “I would say that in the next month it’ll be full.”
For the opening ceremony, the Arboretum coordinators brought in potted plants from facilities to fill the space with greenery, but they’re planning on bringing in propagations — plants used for breeding — as soon as possible.
“There are certainly plants over at facilities that we will start to bring over almost immediately,” Elliott said.
Volunteers will also be able to work in the greenhouse almost immediately. Some already have; according to Elliott, they helped clean up the area around the greenhouse for the grand opening.
This interaction between students and facilities helps make the Arboretum what Bohlen called “a creative learning community” that provides “many opportunities for [students] to engage in campus life.”
Allison Miehl is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.