From the mountains to the coast, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia at the University of Georgia invites participants to spring into exploration through activities showcasing Georgia’s natural resources at Georgia Questival on March 19.
The third year of this family-friendly festival will take place from 1-5 p.m. at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. Registration will be on-site; the cost is $5 per individual, $20 per family and children two and under are free. Free parking and shuttle service will be provided at the UGA Soccer/Softball Complex, 2330 S. Milledge Ave., in Athens.
With the opening of the Alice H. Richard’s Children’s Garden in 2019, the State Botanical Garden, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach, wanted to offer a spring festival that complements its fall festival, Insectival, which attracts thousands of visitors to the garden to celebrate and learn about the importance and diversity of insects.
“We wanted to offer another family festival since Insectival is so popular,” said Cora Keber, director of education.
Questival also represents the opening of programming in the children’s garden for the spring season. The children’s garden highlights Georgia’s natural history, and the festival is designed around that theme, so participants set out on their own adventure to learn more about Georgia.
“Georgia Questival is an opportunity to get out and explore Georgia with experts in different environmental fields,” Keber said.
This year, the festival is expanding to include the Visitor Center and Conservatory and the Heritage Garden, where participants will learn about heirloom plants and important crops in Georgia.
Keber said visitors will receive an adventure map, highlighting the stations with activities. After completing each activity, participants will receive a stamp on their map. Participants who complete all the activities will receive a treasure.
The festival will include performances, vendors, exhibitors and food trucks. Participating partners include the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Conservation Section, UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, the UGA Office of Service-Learning, Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Office, the UGArden and more. All will have informative and fun exhibits.
Emily Ferrall is a wildlife biologist for Georgia DNR and will be at Georgia Questival with information on the bats of Georgia and a game for children to learn what wildlife biologists do.
“By participating in Questival, we hope to increase public knowledge and understanding about the bats of Georgia, including species biology, background on the threats they face and how people can help with their conservation,” Ferrall said.
Georgia Questival is developed with help from students in the garden’s Learning by Leading™ (LxL@UGA) program. Learning by Leading™ is a mentorship program that allows participants to earn experiential learning credit, gain leadership skills and real-world experience in science, conservation, environmental education and horticulture.
“Working on the festival helps students understand community development and organization by helping develop and implement a community-wide program,” Keber said.
Gracey Throckmorton is a second-year student at UGA majoring in biology and has been involved in the LxL@UGA program for four semesters. This year, she will oversee the community corner at Questival and has reached out to local organizations to make connections and get them involved.
“LxL@UGA had impacted my time at UGA by providing a break from my classes and helping me to feel more confident in leadership positions,” Throckmorton said.
For more information about Georgia Questival and the garden’s Learning by Leading™ program, visit botgarden.uga.edu.
Writer: Laurel Clark, Laurel.Clark@uga.edu
Contact: Cora Keber, email@example.com