Letters to the Editor

Viewpoint: A thousand small green steps

Preserving our natural environment will be accomplished not by one big thing, but rather, by a thousand small green steps.

Community members can learn about these steps while celebrating all things “green and sustainable” on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden’s Connections with Nature event, awards ceremony and 20th anniversary festivities.

This “green summit” will allow attendees to enjoy a day of fun, learning and tribute as they share great food and fabulous live music.

Making sustainable choices — like taking reusable bags to the grocery store — can be easy and economical. Others involve a little more initiative. According to Suzanne Morrison of Earthscapes, simple watering changes in home gardens can impact the environment and our purses dramatically. “Just watering the right way can reduce water use by 25 percent. Replacing nonnative plants with beautiful, drought resistant Mediterranean climate plants can reduce water use by 50 percent to 75 percent.”

Forty exhibits will help attendees learn how to save money while supporting a more sustainable environment. Visitors also will have the opportunity to take docent-led tours of the garden and the greenhouse; hike to Eagle Rock for the breathtaking views of the entire garden below; and follow bagpipers to the dedication of the Chilean Wine Palm forest, which will one day be the largest such forest outside Chile.

There also will be refreshments, and local environmental authors will be discussing, selling and signing their books.

The San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden is located on 150 acres in El Chorro Regional Park off Highway 1, between Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo. During the past 11 years the garden has taught 15,000 children about the magical world of plants and botany. Proceeds from Connections with Nature will help us host more school children, complete the creative landscape plan for the Oak Glen Pavilion and move the garden forward to completion.

Tickets are available at the door. General Admission for live music, walks, talks and tours is $25; children under 16 are $5.

VIP Premium tickets ($60) include all events, music and exhibits, plus a wine and hors d’oeuvres hour and a sumptuous dinner catered by noted locavore chef, Maegan Loring.

The San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden also will be acknowledging the people and businesses that honor and preserve our connections with nature. Receiving special awards are Eve Vigil, Gaby and Ken Levine, Rabobank, Gracia and Gene Bello, Jan and Verena von Engel, Linnaea Phillips, Skip Shaw and Barb Renshaw, Arlene Zanchuck and Liz Scott-Graham. Through their leadership, vision and commitment, the honorees remind us that we have a responsibility to care for the beautiful, natural world so that all children can grow up playing and exploring outdoors.

Liz Scott-Graham is development director for the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden.