Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve: A Space for All
This week’s blog is written by Caroline Goodman, Board Member, Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve
Over 30 years ago, Harold and Josephine Hatcher gifted their beloved garden and woodland area to The Spartanburg County Foundation so that it can be a destination for anyone to enjoy, from sunrise to sunset. The blooming flowers, inviting benches, and quiet trails are carefully maintained at Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve in order to fulfill Mr. Hatcher’s guiding principles of creating an educational, wellness, and accessible space for all.
Providing an Educational Space
In 2020, Hatcher Garden saw record visitation rates, and welcomed than 57,000 individuals from near and far. Children and their parents came to do classroom assignments and activities while learning at home, and the trail system provided a safe space for all to walk during the pandemic. Due to increased use, Hatcher Garden identified a real need to construct another safe, supportive, accessible, sheltered neighborhood space that offered standards-based K4-5th grade lesson materials and exercise handouts along the Mary Black Foundation Woodland Trail. The Mary Black Foundation generously provided funding for this space, which will be complete at the end of July. Hatcher Garden staff has partnered with educators and many other volunteers to develop the best space for educational use in the Garden. At the completion of this project, over 300 volunteer hours will have been logged!
Education is a Fundamental Part of Hatcher Garden’s Work
Educating children is a fundamental part of Hatcher Garden’s work. Because of new school precautions, Garden staff have not been able to welcome students for field trips. However, garden manager Dan Shook has been able to visit eight schools this year to teach children about the parts of plans, habitats, germination, and much more. Hatcher Garden has partnered with the Episcopal Church of the Advent on its Southside Garden Initiative where Mr. Dan was able to bring Hatcher Garden’s growing model to the Mary H. Wright Elementary School neighborhood to teach children where food comes from and how to grow their own food; a much-needed program in an area of the community considered a “food desert.”
Hatcher Garden also implemented a virtual education series in partnership with the Spartanburg County Public Library and has developed several educational handouts including coloring sheets, handouts, scavenger hunts, word searches that are well used within the Garden itself.
Continuing to Welcome Our Community
From a blighted cotton field to a beautiful greenspace, Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve has provided the community a place where anyone can enjoy the fresh air, learn about the environment, exercise, rest, or picnic. We are thrilled to continue welcoming more visitors to the Garden each day, and we are appreciative of the community support of this gem in the middle of the City.