A Pretty Patch of Green
September 14, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, TX - Aggie maroon benches,
blooms of pink and purple and a pathway lined with fresh green
bushes-the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine
& Biomedical Sciences now has its very own garden.
Tucked into a nook between the Veterinary Medical Sciences (VMS)
and the Veterinary Medical Administration (VMA) buildings, the
garden was created through the joint efforts of a veterinary
student organization with a concern for the environment-Green
Vets-and a veterinarian with a passion for plants-Dr. Alice
Blue-McLendon. Both aimed to develop the garden as a green retreat
"Students spend hours every day in class. The garden will
provide them with an outdoor space that is good for their mind,
body and spirit," said Blue-McLendon, faculty representative of
Green Vets. "Also, the garden is right outside the Fishbowl, which
is a popular student lounge area. So students can come out there
and study if they would like instead of being inside."
Former president of Green Vets and a major driving force behind
the garden, Shawn McCorkle, hopes that the plants will attract
wildlife such as birds and butterflies to the area.
In addition to being an environmental endeavor, the creation of
the garden has been an exercise in persistence and partnership.
While Green Vets raised funds for the garden through a garage sale,
Blue-McLendon designed the garden plan and selected plants from
local nurseries. This service-learning project also attracted help
from other areas. The Texas A&M University landscape department
helped Green Vets modify the sprinkler system and student employees
of the Winnie Carter Wildlife Center used "Aggie Engineering" to
pressure wash the concrete area (previously a bike parking lot) and
place a 700-pound boulder in the garden. Also, a service grant from
the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association
contributed to funding support.
Besides Green Vets members and student volunteers, McCorkle is
especially grateful to faculty for their help in seeing this
year-long project through.
"We hit several bumps along the way. But Dr. Blue-McLendon and
Dr. Rogers, associate dean for professional programs, were always
there to lend Green Vets their support. We couldn't have done it
without them," expressed McCorkle.
The garden, which will be dedicated as the "Green Vets Native
Garden" or the "Green Vets Native and Adapted Garden," has about 25
plants such as Homestead Verbena, crape myrtle and New Gold
Lantana. Most of the plants are native to Texas, while the few
non-native ones are adapted to withstand a very hot climate.
Future plans for the garden include a rock border. Also, in the
courtyard just in front of the garden, two additional benches will
Small-group teaching is another use for the garden that the
"Anything we can do to get students outside where there is fresh
air is a good thing," remarked Blue-McLendon.
The garden is currently being looked after by Green Vets
members. The organization is looking for volunteers to work in the
garden on a regular basis.
If you would like to sign up as a garden volunteer, please
contact Christine Cao, Secretary/Garden Chair of Green Vets at
For more information on the Texas A&M College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website: vetmed.tamu.edu.
Angela G. Clendenin
Director, Communications & Public Relations
Ofc - (979) 862-2675
Cell - (979) 739-5718
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