Monday, 22 April 2013 10:36

Brookside Museum Going Green

By Brian Cremo | Entertainment

BALLSTON SPA – As the local beneficiary of the fourth annual “Go Green” Build, the Saratoga County Historical Society’s Brookside Museum will have a new natural, sustainable water garden and sustainable ecosystem.

The partnership between Kohl’s Department Stores and Chip’s Landscaping jumpstarted the effort, which will be in the works starting Saturday morning, April 19 and unveiled to the public between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. the same day. 

“We’re absolutely honored,” said Brookside Museum Executive Director Joy Houle. “Chip’s Landscaping and Kohl’s are great to the Saratoga county community, so we’re thrilled that they chose our site to install the feature.”

The project is taking advantage of Brookside’s massive roof system, which has the potential to capture over 34,000 gallons of annual precipitation.

The water from the roof will pass through an underground system that leads to the natural water garden, which will include a pondless waterfall, a natural stream and a rainwater harvesting system that will utilize runoff from the expansive roof. This recycled water will also irrigate the plants surrounding the feature.

“We’ve got a gigantic building,” Houle said. “We have the downspouts, which collect the rain water. One of those downspouts, just one, is all that is required to sustain this garden.”

The surrounding gardens will feature native plants, “nativores,” and contain historical artifacts as well. The sustainable ecosystem will furthermore enhance what is already an educational experience at the museum, as an outdoor history-learning lab that can be used for lessons on sustainable practices now, compared to practices of the past.

“We call it, ‘learning and making history with green,’” Chip’s Landscaping Master Gardener Sue Ann DuBois said. “This year’s build offers a host of opportunities for our county museum, rich in Saratoga history, and the opportunity to make history with green technology. Children and adults from the region will be able to experience firsthand new green technology and mini ecosystems in an environment that respects our local history.”

“Sue (Ann DuBois) is committed to the work that we do here in terms of education and preservation,” Houle said. “I think she saw the potential for the future here.”

Houle believes the project will bring “infinite possibilities” and can be used in a wide array of different groups of people, whether it be kids, gardening groups or senior citizens with an interest in gardening. 

“I would love to believe that it will draw more people,” Houle said. “It is another garden and in this community, and in this county, people love looking at gardens.

There isn’t a 100 percent defined picture of what the project will look like, according to Houle. Although the ideas may be flexible, she is in anticipation of a very subtle and “natural enhancement” to the backyard. A lot depends on the donations from the community, which has exceeded expectations thus far.

Suzanne Trudell, manager of Kohl’s Department Stores, said, “They have more volunteers this year than the past three years all together.”

In addition to Kohl’s and Chip’s, an array of local businesses helped support the project. Mulhalland Enterprises, Baccalupo Trucking, Milton Dunkin’ Donuts and Ballston Spa McDonalds have all shown their support.

“It really is a community garden in the sense that Saratoga County is supporting it,” Houle said.

As long as the weather cooperates, the build will take place starting at 8 a.m. Otherwise, it will begin the following day, April 21.

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