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Dow Gardens host activities for girls attending Juliette Gordon Low birthday party

MIDLAND – No birthday celebration for Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low would be complete without an opportunity to learn something new and be amazed.

Girl Scouts who attend the October 20 birthday party in Low’s honor will have a few of these learning opportunities available to them at Dow Gardens.

“This is about getting the girls outside and piquing their curiousity,” said Elizabeth Lumbert, assistant for Dow Gardens. “Everything in our garden is labeled and visitors can access our entire collection from a kiosk in our gift shop. They can print a map which will tell them where they need to go to see the plants they want to see.
“Kids can learn a lot about plants and nature on the internet, but you need to get your hands a little dirty to make that connection.”

The 110-acre Dow Gardens annually attract more than 100,000 visitors from all over the world. The Gardens were started in 1899 by Herbert Dow, founder of The Dow Chemical Company, on eight acres of flat, sandy land which provided a creative outlet for his interest in agriculture and design. He created gardens, ponds and hills according to a simple philosophy that is still followed to this day: “never reveal the gardens’ whole beauty at first glance.”

“The way we’ve designed the Gardens, there are surprises around every corner,” Lumbert said.

Alden B. Dow, Herbert’s youngest son and an experienced architect, continued his father's work on the Gardens and the family connection continued with the involvement of Herbert Dow’s grandson, Herbert Dow II.

The Gardens hold a special place in the heart of Jan Barker, chief executive officer of GSHOM. Barker earned a Bachelor’s degree in biology and has managed to pursue her passion for science while guiding the efforts of the premier leadership organization for girls in a 34-county area.

“The Gardens are a favorite stop of mine whenever I’m at our Saginaw Regional office,” Barker said. “We strive to help our girls gain an appreciation for nature and the outdoors through our camps and the inclusion of the Dow Gardens in our birthday festivities is a natural extension of our commitment to growing well-rounded girls.”

Unlike similar gardens which close at some point during the year, Lumbert said the Dow Gardens are open all year ‘round. She said the venue is a favorite for weddings and other special events, including lunchtime concerts in the summer and a Christmas Walk complete with luminaries lining the walkways, reindeer and carolers.

Fall and winter may not seem like the best times to visit such a garden, but Lumbert said evergreens, berries on the trees, white birch and paperbark maple trees are every bit as stunning as plants that bloom in the spring and summer.

A Children’s Garden which is part of the 100-acre site allows children to grow their own plants in a plot that is all their own. This particular garden has received national awards.

“They grow the most amazing things and tend their plots all summer long,” Lumbert said. “I think the girls will enjoy the Children’s Garden.”
For more information about the birthday festivities, logon to our website at www.gshom.org or call 800-49SCOUT.

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