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UNF Climate Change Garden receives Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Commercial Certification

Aerial view of the Pocket Park gardenThe University of North Florida’s Climate Change Demonstration Garden, aka Pocket Park, has recently been awarded the gold level Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) Commercial Certification from the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

To receive this distinction, a garden must exhibit and follow nine “Florida-friendly landscaping principles” using low maintenance, low impact environmentally sustainable practices. The gold award signifies the highest possible excellence standards.

Located between the Andrew A. Robinson Jr. Building and the John E. Matthews Computer Science Building, near the Green and Parking Lot 9, Pocket Park has been a part of UNF’s campus since 2014. The garden was designed to increase climate change awareness, sustainability practices and showcases Florida Friendly plants to demonstrate how a changing climate may affect the plants we grow. For example, Pulmeria pudica, (Frangipani) and Rondeletia leucophylla (Panama rose) are placed near a south facing wall where the radiant heat off the building helps to keep the plants warm during frost and freeze events with minimal cold damage. This garden allows people to see how plants are affected by different growing conditions, mainly by precipitation and temperature.  Pocket Park also includes a large, abstract art sculpture titled ‘Grounded Three’ by Erica Mendoza, UNF alumni, that is intended to look like a folded origami bird that was installed in 2014.  

The UNF Botanical Garden’s mission is to foster environmental conservation, sustainability, biodiversity and stewardship of healthy ecosystems for the purpose of education, research, and community outreach through natural and unique living garden displays. Across the University’s beautiful campus of nearly 1,600 acres, the Botanical Garden staff and volunteers work to preserve the natural native and ornamental horticulture while providing recreation and educational opportunities, awareness and understanding.