Cleveland’s Own: Holden Forests and Gardens

In this month’s edition of Fox 8’s Cleveland’s Own, Matt Kaulig meets with Jill Koski and Caroline Tait from Holden Forests and Gardens.

This non-profit connects people with the wonder, beauty, and value of trees and plants, to inspire action for healthy communities. To find out more go to: holdenfg.org

Fox 8 Cleveland’s Own

Fox 8 Cleveland’s Own is about good people doing good work in Northeast Ohio. WJW Fox 8 and Kaulig Charitable Giving Programs team up to celebrate Cleveland’s Own by highlighting the best of our region in a big way! Each month, Fox 8’s Stefani Schaefer and Kaulig Companies and LeafFilter Executive Chairman Matt Kaulig, share a story about a person or organization from Northeast Ohio doing good work.

To see more Cleveland’s Own stories, or to nominate an organization to be featured, visit Kaulig Giving’s Cleveland’s Own page.

Read the Transcript

Stefani Schaefer

Each month, Kaulig Giving and Fox Eight will highlight people, organizations and charities making a difference in Northeast Ohio. It's time to celebrate Cleveland's Own.

Matt Kaulig

Hi, I'm Matt Kaulig. This month on Cleveland's Own, we hear from Holden Forests and Gardens. This living Museum is the 12th largest public garden in the country, connecting people and inspiring healthy communities through trees, plants and wildlife. Let's hear from Jill Koski and Caroline Tait from Holden Forest and Gardens.

Jill Koski

Holden Forest and Gardens is the combined Holden Arboretum and Cleveland Botanical Garden. Holden Arboretum is in Kirtland. It's a rural 3500 acre Arboretum, and the botanical garden is eleven acres in the urban area of University Circle. We serve more than 3000 annual visitors. In addition to all of the work that we do in outreach and work directly in the community.

Caroline Tait

We really do offer something that is unusual in the public garden world. And because of that, we can showcase so many different techniques to how one cares for one's land. And we tell a local Northeast Ohio story, but we also tell a story of other parts of the world in the biomes that's Costa Rica and Madagascar, but also through our collections. It's many other places in the world.

Matt Kaulig

All right, so this is more of a dry space.

Jill Koski

We're in the Madagascar Biome. This is probably one of our most significant collections, and it is very much just what you would find in Madagascar, this is how it would feel. When we first opened the glass houses, we constructed what would be a Baobab tree in Madagascar. But now the really cool thing is we have actual real trees of the same type now growing, living within this Glasshouse environment. The folks who helped design it had a deep Montessori background. And it's really about a space that engages kids in a way that connects them directly to nature, allows for the right amount of risk. You can get that experience that feeling in the Hershey Children's garden, just like playing in your backyard. We're in the tropical Forests. It doesn't feel like Cleveland.

Matt Kaulig

It does not feel like Cleveland.

Jill Koski

Especially right now with all the snow.

Matt Kaulig

Holy cow!

Jill Koski

But there are birds inside. In addition to the plants, there's birds. We have butterflies, the whole ecosystem of Costa Rica right here in this bio.

Matt Kaulig

Why is this and why is nature so important to Northeast Ohio?

Jill Koski

Well, I think that nature really doesn't know any boundaries. It doesn't know where one neighborhood begins. One ends where one country begins and one ends. And this is all connected. And the plant world is interconnected around the globe.

Caroline Tait

If you take a child into that area and the eyes open, the look of glee, is this place for real? And then to expand that conversation and say, well, there's places in the world that are like this. This is a tiny microcosm of Costa Rica. Imagine what it would be like to walk up the volcanoes and through the cloud forests. My goal here as the head of Horticulture is for somebody to come and just see one thing that they look at and just go, wow, I wonder about that. You go home with just that singular thought and to me that changes someone's life. That's the point of this.

Jill Koski

I really hope that people come to see that public gardens are far more than just pretty places to visit that they really are a way where we can inspire, educate and connect. We encourage everyone, especially if you have young children to bring them to the children's garden. Join as a member, take a class, sign your kids up for summer camp and if you're at home, take a pledge at our website to plant a tree in your own backyard. We'll help you through it and you can enjoy that for many years to come.

Matt Kaulig

To learn more about the natural world at Holden Forests and Gardens, visit Holdenfg.org to nominate a person or organization for an upcoming episode of Cleveland's Own, visit Kauliggiving.com/clevelandsown. Make it a great day.