Leslie Science and Nature Center Discovery Garden

Discovery Garden at Leslie Science and Nature Center

Reopening in 2021

The Leslie Science and Nature Center Discovery Garden is at the LSNC and just off the edge of Black Pond Woods.  It is a great place to explore throughout the growing season.
 
At the end of 2019, Project Grow decided to close the Leslie Science and Nature Center (LSNC) Discovery Garden because of the city had uncovered high levels of arsenic in the soil in an area behind the DTE energy house. LSNC had also suspended all activities at the site pending remediation and further testing. You can read about what steps the city took here, and how further testing and remediation led the city to decide it was safe to re-open the site.
 
Here are comments from Patti McCall at TetraTech, the company that carried out the testing:
 
The take home message is that the arsenic is not an issue at the site. The major concern with arsenic in soil is ingesting it but in this case, the arsenic in the soil is largely not available to be absorbed by people; that is, it does not accumulate in our bodies and is eliminated. I’ll lay out in a step-wise approach of what we did onsite.
 
  1. We collected soil samples across the site and tested for arsenic in the soil. The concentrations are elevated. 
  2. To ensure the safety of the citizens using the space, we completed what is called bioaccessibility testing. Essentially, determining how much of the arsenic is available for ingestion by humans. The laboratory provided a percentage per sample and they were relatively low. 
  3. A series of values were derived using state guidance, to calculate a number based on use (residential, recreational and non-residential). These numbers are criteria; therefore they represent a threshold that we cannot exceed to ensure safety. The bioavailability percentages were used in these calculations. In all instances, the samples were below those thresholds. The arsenic onsite is below the most stringent criteria; that is, if someone lived at the site for 30 years and were exposed to the soil daily. 

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The gardens open in late April or early May, depending on weather. They close for the winter on the third Saturday of October.  All Discovery Garden gardeners receive an 18 or 24 square foot raised bed. Gardeners have on-site access to a community tool shed, water and a shade area for relaxing. Volunteers are available to provide assistance and site coordinators help keep gardens watered throughout the week.

Gardeners gather every Wednesday from approximately 5:30pm - 7:30pm.

For more information contact Project Grow's Managing Director at 996-3169 or via email at info@projectgrowgardens.org

Map of Discovery Garden at Leslie

The fee for a bed at the Discovery Garden is $50 for one or $80 for two.

Site Coordinator: Joet Reoma (joet@projectgrowgardens.org )