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Final Report for Preserving History and Nature's Beauty

This project was made possible through funds collected by the Friends of the University of Vilnius Botanical Garden.

The Baltic Sea Center invited us to visit some botanical gardens of Finland. During our visit, lasting one week, we had a great opportunity to introduce ourselves to the Helsinki University Botanical garden, botanical garden of Tempere which is planted near the Mental Health hospital. In the town Turku we learned about the problems of city greening reconstruction, and visited the well-cared-for Ruissalo botanical garden. Here we saw computerized management of green houses and were told about garden infrastructure. We were eager to find out about fundraising of the garden. Managers of the garden not only collect money by selling tickets, but also they provide artists with an opportunity to create arts in the garden. Part of the garden is also rented to the public to celebrate important dates in their lives. Also, there are some children's activities arranged, so that parents would be interested in bringing their children to the garden. Visitors can purchase post cards and seeds. We were interested in the fact that the main supporters of the garden are the wives of university professors. We were amazed to see Tapiola - a modern suburb of Helsinki - with its fountains and a beautiful park that was planted by a gardener - our guide - over 15 years ago. We also visited Kotka water park, and found out that Municipalities encourage not only architects but also the general public to create for the parks. We visited Mustilo arboretum, and learned about it's management - this arboretum was founded in 1902. The most amazing visit for us was to Overby Swedish gardenening school which, initiates different firms to implement joint projects: we saw an exibition of examples - works implemented by these firms - on planting, lighting, construction of childrens' play grounds and relaxation sites, fountains, parks and cemeteries. This is a great cooperation of business and the gardening school. Such an initiative could be adopted in Lithuania as well. Results of our trip were published in the Lithuanian magazine "Science and Life". We think that our trip was a big success. Outcomes of this trip are: 1) At the beginning of 2000, we'll start to train guides-volunteers who will work in the Vilnius University Botanical Garden; 2) right after the trip to Finland we had started a project called "Prapagation of rare plants of Lithuania". We will present seedlings of rare plants to the supporters of the garden and volunteers: this would also help to save these endangered species. We are very grateful to the Virtual Foundation for supporting our project and we assure that our trip to Finland was very useful and productive. Many thanks to our donors!