InFocus | THE MARSH GARDENS

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Photo by Victor Kang.

InFocus is the newest feature of the News’ photography desk. Staff photographers produce a feature on a topic of their choosing through interviews and photography. Combining both text and image, the InFocus is the culmination of News photographers’ exploration of New Haven and Yale.

High up Science Hill, past Ingalls Rink, past Sterling Chemistry Laboratory and past Farnam Gardens lies a treasure few Yalies have heard of: the Marsh Botanical Gardens. Victor Kang reports.

The gardens were established in 1899 from the bequest of Othniel Charles Marsh, nephew of George Peabody. Marsh, the first paleontology professor at Yale, left his large house (made a National Historic Landmark in 1965) to accommodate Yale’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, the first in the United States. His land was used to build the Gardens.

For over a century, the Gardens have provided not only support for research in ecology, environmental studies and molecular biology, but also education and mentorship. Eric Larson, who has managed the gardens since 2003, said he feels his role is to cultivate people, not just plants.

“Many garden administrators think they are managing gardens and plants, but really what we are growing is people,” said Larson. Larson organizes several events throughout the year, including a tour of the gardens for both Yalies and members of New Haven.

Larson, who addresses the tourists by their first names, made it obvious that those who visit return to hear more of his insightful, yet humorous, descriptions of the garden’s extensive plant collection. The garden’s next event is Arbor Day, this Friday, and will feature tree-planting, tours and live music.

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