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Botanical Garden & Sloss Furnace

Let’s Take a Look:

Botanical Gardens and Sloss Furnace

  • High School Environmental Science


Studying environmental science is a lot more meaningful when you can explore your environment! We are learning a great deal about our surrounding area, ranging from topics like the hydrologic cycle to generalist and specialist species.


Last week, we took a trip to downtown Birmingham to visit various parts of the city and talk about how they connected to our learning in environmental science, focusing on the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark.


At the Botanical Gardens, we walked through the different zones and worked on identifying maple, cherry, and other trees. In the Japanese garden, seen below, we went from bamboo forest to verdant plants to water life and the zen garden.


In the early morning setting, much of the north side of the park was being watered.  We also noticed the effect of water when sprayed, with the classic prismatic effect creating a rainbow in the air in front of us. Nature is awesome.


We walked through the bog section and onto the trails above it that circle the outside edge of the park.  There we crossed a rock bridge where we stopped for a photo before continuing our tour and heading off to Railroad Park for lunch.


After a lunch at Railroad Park, we headed to Sloss Furnace. The conditions that people worked in were incredibly dangerous. We looked at the conveyors, pouring grounds, and learned it took 5 million gallons of water per furnace (there were three) per day. It is amazing how important portable water is, and yet fresh water in lakes and rivers is only 2% of the earth’s surface.


The building behind us in the photo is active and is now used for small pouring projects and artwork. Industrial work has been and continues to be an important part of the United States’ development and economy, but it is difficult to imagine the level of environmental impact of some of the industrial processes as well!