“Grass Roots” had its grand opening October 16. The interactive outdoor exhibit at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Arboretum in Washington, DC focuses on new turf cultivars developed by the USDA and universities supported by the USGA. Linked to gardens and displays throughout the Arboretum’s 446-acre grounds, the exhibit shows how grasses perform a wide range of functions in the environment, from soil and water retention to activities and aesthetics.
The 1-acre exhibit is near the Arboretum’s Administration Building and Visitor Center. There are 12 stations, including golf turf, irrigation, fertilization, sports fields, turf pests and grass types. The outdoor exhibit is the centerpiece of the Grass Roots Initiative, a collaborative effort by the National Turfgrass Federation and USDA.
The 12 interactive displays explore the environmental, recreational, economic, and aesthetic uses of turfgrass through public outreach and education. The exhibit demonstrates that the best grasses are developed and managed with specific purposes in mind such as linking landscape elements, conserving soil, assuring water retention or improving the aesthetics of landscapes. The exhibit also features agronomic grasses and research from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) aimed at sustaining the productivity of grain crops. Ornamental grasses tie the entire exhibit together.
The irrigation station conveys a message any visitor can use: “save water.” The display features information to help consumers learn about water conservation and includes a display of various water-efficient sprinkler heads.
The sports turf station introduces visitors to the complexities of sports turf and provides a space to play traditional and modern lawn games like croquet and golf. Many people think of sports turf as just a large field of grass, but sports turf is a complex, engineered system that protects people and the environment.
Extensive information available on the Web complements the outdoor exhibit. Additionally, workshops, product demonstrations and symposia are planned during the four-year exhibit. Grass Roots is part of the National Greenscape Corridor development—a cooperative effort linking the National Mall, Arlington National Cemetery and the National Arboretum.
Source: Mike Kenna