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Teaching garden comes to Southwest High Point Heritage Greenway

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- The Southwest High Point Heritage Greenway will one day stretch from the Amtrak station in downtown High Point to the Interstate 85 business loop on the southwest side of the city. But for now, Dorothy Darr, executive director of the Southwest Renewal Foundation of High Point, is celebrating the little things.

"It's wonderful because it's turning out so beautifully," Darr said. "It will be a good example for people to look at and visualize how the greenway will look eventually."

Darr is describing a short segment of the Heritage Greenway from West Grimes Avenue to Southside Park. The pathway crosses Richland Creek and offers views of the Market Square Tower. The Heritage Greenway also goes through an open space that features a figure-eight gravel walkway and stone benches. The Southwest Renewal Foundation calls this one acre of land the Botanical Woodland Teaching Garden. The group transformed the vacant city-owned land by planting 76 native trees and shrubs. Also, there's a colorful 10-foot-tall sculpture in the garden. Images of nature like the sun, flowers and wildlife cover the statue. Doris Deal explains why the foundation selected the artwork they call "Mother Earth."

"We thought she was a wonderful representation of what we are trying to accomplish, beauty and earth," Deal said.

It's called a teaching garden because small signs will identify the trees that are in the space. Since the Heritage Greenway runs near Fairview Elementary and Southside Recreation Center, the teaching garden can be an outdoor classroom for young children.

Claire Robinson is the founder and president of High Point LEAP. LEAP stands for literacy empowers all people. The group runs an after school program at Southside Recreation Center. Robinson said she plans on taking her students to the Botanical Woodland Teaching Garden.

"This program is so exciting for us because it will allow us to provide an opportunity for children to engage with nature and learn about trees and plants in their own community," Robinson said.

A historical marker honoring Rev. Benjamin Elton Cox will be placed in the Botanical Woodland Teaching Garden. From 1958 to 1968, Cox was the pastor of Pilgrim Congregational Church in southwest High Point. Cox was also an active participant in the civil rights movement.

Southwest Renewal Foundation of High Point will officially open the greenway and garden at West Taylor Avenue on Friday afternoon at 12 p.m.

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