The National Tropical Botanical Garden will celebrate its 50th year of existence with a celebration that will include the opening of a Biodiversity Trail at the McBryde Garden in Kalaheo Tuesday.
“This fully accessible trail will offer visitors and students a thoughtful and inspiring adventure in time travel,” NTBG spokeswoman Janet Leopold said in a press release. “The 800-foot trail depicts the story of evolution of life on the planet.”
On Aug. 19, 1964, the United States Congress enacted the NTBG Congressional Charter, which gave life to the garden.
Tuesday’s festivities, by invitation only, go from 10:15 a.m to 1 p.m. Officials will dedicate the Inouye Overlook at the new trail, in honor of late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, a man who played a pivotal role in making the NTBG Congressional Charter a reality half a century ago.
In another spot of the Biodiversity Trail, a breadfruit tree will be planted in honor of First Lady Michelle Obama.
One of the highlights of the day will be the unveiling of the Biodiversity Trail.
Leopold said from one end, the trail starts with a mist tunnel made of giant boulders, standing 15-feet tall and weighing nearly 20 tons each.
“The tunnel of swirling mist will have mosses and lichens demonstrating simple plant life structures present 450 million years ago,” she said. “Next in time comes ferns and fern allies which encourage visitors to continue on the journey to witness plant life as it become more and more complex, with vascular systems, complex leaves, seeds, flowers, and fruit.”
Amidst the beauty, Leopold said, a surprise lies next — what is happening to the world’s plants today.
“There has never been a time in the planet’s history when we have lost biodiversity at such a rate as is happening now,” she said. “Emerging from this sobering crisis are rays of beauty and hope, inspirational stories of real people making a difference, dedicating their lives to make the world a better place for future generations.”
A tropical fruit orchard, in an area referred to as “Food for Thought,” lies at the opposite end of the trail. Plans for this area include additional plantings and areas for reflection, refreshment, education and entertainment, according to Leopold.
The Biodiversity Trail and the Food for Thought garden are part of a multi-year plan to improve educational and recreational opportunities in the McBryde Garden.
The Biodiversity Trail will be available starting Tuesday as part of self-guided tours of the McBryde Garden.
Visit www.ntbg.org for more information.