Below is our historical communcation leading up to Hurrican Irma. You can read about our extensive preparations, closing, damage assessment, clean up and on-going restoration efforts, and the Garden's reopening:
Public Information for Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden: Hurricane Irma Update
This space will serve as the official communication center for Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden as we prepare for, weather through and recover from the effects of Hurricane Irma. Please check back often for the latest information.
You can also follow us on social media for the latest information.
Jeanne Becker, Becker Public Relations
Please help us by supporting the Fairchild Hurricane Irma Relief Fund today.
Read our posts leading up to Hurricane Irma:
Hurricane Irma Blog Posted: Friday, September 22, 2017_1:20 p.m. EDT
Update, Friday, September 22, 2017, 10 Days Post Hurricane Irma.
The Importance of Horticulture Following Hurricane Irma.
While not as destructive as Hurricane Andrew, Irma was still a devastating hurricane. The Garden sustained major damage to its tree collection. Approximately 20% of the trees were heavily damaged or destroyed. Palms, cycads, vines, and understory plants generally came through with only minor damage. However, some of those plants were damaged by falling tree limbs. Many of the understory plants are now suffering from too much sun exposure.
The current work is debris removal, tree pruning and reshaping, and tree lifting and bracing. We estimate that we have already removed 2,000 cubic yards of debris. Thus far we have righted six large trees with a crane, and expect that number to at least double before our recovery efforts are completed. Going forward, we will shift our resources toward rescuing understory plants and adding new plants into gaps in the landscape. Our nursery shade houses were severely damaged and will require rebuilding. Our buildings including The Clinton Family Conservatory, however, fared perfectly well thanks in large part to excellent construction standards.
We Are Reopening. Although we still have a lot of restoration to do, we are thrilled to be reopening, Saturday, September 23, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. We are offering free admission on Saturday and Sunday (September 22 and 23) in honor of our dedicated and hard-working Volunteers; we could not open this quickly without their generous support of the Garden. In lieu of admission this weekend, a $25 contribution is suggested (but not required) to The Hurricane Irma Fairchild Relief Fund.
We Need Your Help! We anticipate that our recovery efforts will cost $500,000! So we need your help! Please text FAIRCHILD to 41444 from your mobile device right now. Or you can click here to give Fairchild's Hurricane Irma Relief Fund.
Hurricane Irma Blog Posted: Wednesday, September 13, 2017_3:00 p.m. EDT
Update, Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 3 Days Post Hurricane Irma. Fairchild’s Hurricane Operations Team was on-site immediately following the storm. Our buildings, including The Clinton Family Conservatory, are unharmed. Most of the palms, cycads and oak trees are in great shape. However, there is extensive damage to trees throughout the Garden. Plant debris is everywhere. The team has been actively working around the clock to open pathways for equipment and vehicles. Arborists can now access most of the garden with boom lifts and trucks. Meanwhile our scientists are working to triage and salvage the felled and damaged trees. The full Fairchild staff reported to the Garden today and made incredible progress toward removing debris from the Montgomery Palmetum and R. H. Simons Rainforest.
If you are able, please report tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. Please wear comfortable clothes, hat and sunscreen and bring your gardening gloves. We'll have plenty of water and lunch. Please report to the Garden House.
Want ToHelp But Aren't a Fairchild Volunteer?
That's ok! We can use your help. Please come to the South Entrance (Staff Entrance) and report to the Garden House. Please wear comfortable clothes, hat and sunscreen and bring your gardening gloves.
What You Can Do To Help.
We anticipate that the hurricane recovery process will be a costly undertaking, so we've created the Hurricane Irma Relief Fund
to help defray costs. Every dollar you give us will be used for the Garden's recovery efforts. We really need your help; please help today!
Attention Fairchild Challenge Growing Beyond Earth Teacher Professional Development Workshop Attendees:
Your workshop has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 30, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. Thank you for understanding.
Attention Fairchild Continuing Education Students:
Your classes have been rescheduled to commence on Monday, September 25.
Sun where there was only shade on the Mulch Path connecting the Lowlands to the Highlands
The Overlook and Alleé
Hurricane Irma Blog Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2017_4:50 p.m. EDT
The Garden remains closed as we await Hurricane Irma's hurricane force winds later tonight. The more westerly path is a welcomed relief, though we are thinking of our friends at Selby Botanical Garden, Bok Tower and Naples Botanical Garden.
Yesterday, Fairchild's director, Carl Lewis toured the Garden and captured its beauty.
Wings of the Tropics Exhibit
Bailey Palm Glade
Uplands, Dry Savannah
Wishing everyone safe harbor from this storm.
Hurricane Irma Blog Posted: Wednesday, September 6, 2017_3:35 p.m. EDT
Preparing Your Home Garden for a Storm
Fairchild will be closed to the public starting Thursday, September 7.
Reopening and Post-Storm Clean-Up
Hurricane Irma is a dangerous windstorm and rain event. We anticipate that the Garden's collections will experience a significant impact as a result of the sustained tropical and hurricane force winds.
At this time, we cannot predict exactly when the Garden will reopen. Hurricane Operations personnel will return to the Garden as soon as possible. Their priority is to assess the extent of the damage, clear parking lots and pathways so that the recovery and clean-up process can commence. Once this immediate post-storm assessment is conducted, we will be better able to advise when we will reopen, and we will post it here.
Our email and telecommunications will be taken off-line in anticipation of the storm. We will bring them back up as quickly as possible following the storm. Please keep checking this space for the most up-to-date information.
Fairchild Staff and Volunteers
If you are either a Fairchild Staff or a Fairchild Volunteer, please check here to see when the all-clear is given to return to the Garden to assist with the clean-up and recovery process. Please report to the Garden House and bring sunscreen, hats and wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
Want to Help Clean Up But Aren't an Official Fairchild Volunteer
We may need your help after the storm but please check back here for updates on what you may be able do at a later time.
Hurricane Irma Blog Posted_Tuesday_September 5, 2017, 11:09 a.m. EDT
In addition to the many preparations you already make for weathering hurricanes, there are also steps you can take to minimize damage in your landscape and garden.
When a storm is imminent.
It may be too late to commence preparations when a storm threat is imminent. We urge you to follow the storm watches and warnings from the National Hurricane Center
to ensure you stay safe as you prepare for Hurricane Irma and if you need to evacuate or shelter in place.
When a storm threatens.
Identify anything that can be moved by wind, including potted plants, hanging plants, empty pots, garden ornaments, sculptures and furniture, barbecues, birdbaths, hanging birdhouses, garden tools, wheelbarrows, etc., and bring these indoors if possible. If not, move these items to a sheltered location like a patio and secure them to each other and/or to a stable structure.
- Patio furniture can be stacked and tied together if it’s not possible to bring them indoors or to a sheltered location.
- Secure trash bins or move them inside if possible.
- Vining plants can be secured with twine.
- Cluster together very large potted plants or lay them down onto their sides and secure them from rolling.
- Secure trellises with rope if possible.
- Consider removing large, especially near-ripe fruit from trees.
- Safely remove coconuts from palms if possible, and clear the ground of any coconuts as well.
- If you can safely do so, remove any dead or weak tree limbs.
- Do not leave garden/landscaping litter like branches or similar material on the ground, as these can easily become airborne.
Planning ahead. We recommend you create a storm preparation plan for your home and garden each year that you can implement on June 1. Planning ahead is the best way to minimize catastrophic damage from high winds and heavy rains.
- Plant trees with a proven resistance to high winds, like native trees.
- Have trees professionally pruned by a certified arborist—who will not overprune or hatrack trees—to improve their wind resistance.
- Improve drainage in any problem garden areas.