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Cottonwood Gallery to open in August at the Botanic Garden.

BioPark Opens Restored Bosque Habitat

Guests may spot or hear toads near the new woodland ponds. Photo by ABQ BioPark.

May 23, 2013 (updated 6/12/13)

The ABQ BioPark is excited to announce the Botanic Garden's newest exhibit, the Cottonwood Gallery, will open to the public in August. Majestic cottonwoods are featured in the gallery, which showcases an enhanced bosque habitat that fosters native plants and animals.

The original exhibit opening was June 28, but due to fire risk and the closure of neighboring bosque, the opening has been postponed to an August date (details to be announced).

"We've always had close ties with the Rio Grande and the bosque, which are adjacent to the Botanic Garden," said Catherine Hubbard, Botanic Garden Manager. "The Cottonwood Gallery gives us a chance to showcase this truly New Mexican habitat and introduce the citizens of Albuquerque and all of our visitors to the wonders of the bosque. For those who already love the bosque, this exhibit will provide great opportunities to see wildlife and learn more."

BioPark staff have worked tirelessly over the past few months to restore this area, which was once part of San Gabriel Park. The staff initiated this project and are creating the exhibit with a shoestring budget and lots of "sweat equity" from community volunteers.

A path from the 1920s-era working Heritage Farm will lead to the five-acre site at the north end of the Botanic Garden. The garden will incorporate the existing cottonwood canopy with new plantings of cottonwoods and native understory bushes and flowers. Several ponds have also been added to the area. Paths with benches will provide quiet places to watch for the abundant native wildlife, including roadrunners, kestrels, porcupines and great-horned owls.

"As part of the City of Albuquerque, we are pleased to offer citizens another way to connect with the nature in our own backyard," said Rick Janser, ABQ BioPark Director. "The BioPark continues to be a place of learning and engagement for our community as we complete projects like the Cottonwood Gallery."

For more information, email [email protected] or dial 311 locally (505-768-2000).

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