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Explore Botanical Center's Rich Potential

Donald M. Huffman

Des Moines Register

May 22, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by the Des Moines Register, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Des Moines Register.]

I read with interest the front-page story on the Des Moines Botanical Center (“Botanical Center Lacks Suburbs’ Support,” May 13). I have thought about this situation as I’ve heard reports and stories regarding the possible rain forest project in Iowa.

Granted, my views reflect the thoughts of a professional biologist but, while I think renewal of support and interest in the Botanical Center is an excellent idea, I see little to recommend our building a faux rain forest in Iowa.

With minimal changes the Des Moines Botanical Center could house many additional types of rainforest flora. With minimal cost, competent ecologists and botanists in the several colleges and universities in central Iowa could provide excellent education opportunities for children (and others) to learn and appreciate the basic information underlying all of our environmental issues in Iowa’s natural habitats.

To revive support and interest in the Botanical Center would require cooperation and management by several interested agencies, but it is a worthwhile effort. On the other hand, I do not believe a new rain forest development project anywhere in Iowa offers the wealth of opportunities to Iowans that could be achieved with a well-managed and well-supported Botanical Center in Des Moines.

Donald M. Huffman