The Idaho Botanical Gardens’ Winter Garden aGlow has gone green this year, providing a more eco-friendly alternative to driving the family mini-van from neighborhood to neighborhood looking at Christmas lights.
This year, each Monday through January 9th, the Idaho Botanical Gardens are offering “Carpool Mondays”. Fill up your vehicle, ride share with friends, and gain admission to the Winter Garden aGlow festivities for only $20.00 per vehicle. Cutting down on joyriding, light-viewing energy emissions by bringing together a beautiful winter wonderland of lights in one place, and offering views of the Boise night scape, the Idaho Botanical Gardens now is thinking green.
But what about those lights? How efficient can this event be with over 250,000 lights sparkling in the foothill gardens? The Idaho Botanical Gardens have started going solar. While only providing a portion of the power necessary to light the gardens, the Labor Management Cooperative Committee has brought a solar trailer to the Botanical Gardens to offset some of the power requirements. Because this trailer only only delivers 1000 watts of power during peak sunshine hours, it really is only a drop in the bucket. If this is a genuine first-step, rather than a feel good measure to placate environmentalists, then the Idaho Botanical Gardens is on the right track.
The lights themselves have also gone green. As one enters the Idaho Botanical Garden, they are greeted with signage encouraging household conversion to LED lights. The gardens are now lit with LED lights, rather than mini-incandescents. With 250,000 lights in the display this is substantial, an approximate 40% energy savings.
Winter Garden aGlow raises funds to support the Idaho Botanical Gardens year-round. The gardens themselves encourage interest in horticulture and conservation, and educate visitors on the importance of plant life and ecology. The Idaho Botanical Gardens are making positive steps to lower their energy usage and raise awareness.
A trip to the Winter Garden aGlow is leagues better than traveling around town in a car caravan looking at inflatable Santas and house lights. The beauty of the lights and festive feeling of community are inspiring, and full of Christmas spirit. The kids can even have their picture taken with Santa away from the mall and its frenzy of consumerism.There is still time, even through the new year, to go out and create a new nature-focused holiday tradition.