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Heritage Trees at Laguna Gloria
A remarkable site with tremendous cultural significance for Texas, Laguna Gloria attracts more than 25,000 visitors every year to view art, learn at the Art School, and tour the historic grounds. Laguna Gloria is also one of the top birding sites in Central Texas, with more than 200 species of birds finding shelter on the grounds.
Heritage trees remain the heart of Laguna Gloria’s natural beauty. Recent surveys have identified more than 500 hundred native trees on Laguna Gloria’s fourteen-acre grounds, including ash, bald cypress, cedar elm, cottonwood, live oak, pecan, and willow trees. Of those native species, more than 145 are heritage trees.
In 2017, The Contemporary Austin established the Heritage Tree Fund with a generous gift from an anonymous donor. The fund will provide crucial support for arborists to care for magnificent heritage specimens on the site and nurture young native trees throughout the upcoming phases of the Master Plan for Laguna Gloria.
The Heritage Tree Fund will support the ongoing maintenance and preservation of more than 145 trees and 500 native tree species at Laguna Gloria. You can support this legacy of preservation by making a gift today.
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Restoring the Native Landscape
For the past four years, The Contemporary Austin has collaborated with landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand to design a Master Plan for the sculpture park at Laguna Gloria. Elegantly exploring the intersection of art and nature, Reed Hilderbrand’s award-winning Master Plan supports The Contemporary Austin’s ambitious curatorial program for the sculpture park while successfully integrating accessible spaces for the public.
At the core of the revitalization of Laguna Gloria is restoration of the site’s native ecology. Throughout 2017 and 2018, The Contemporary Austin is partnering with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on a significant invasive species removal project, pictured above. This project also entails shoreline stabilization and the careful preservation of heritage trees on the property, including the majestic cypress trees along the shores of Lake Austin and the live oaks gracing the historic landscape near the Driscoll Villa.
Protecting Habitats for Birds and Wildlife
Laguna Gloria is an urban sanctuary for over 200 species of birds.
The nexus of three ecotomes—wetlands, floodplain forest, and Blackland Prairie—defines the precious character of Laguna Gloria’s landscape and provides a unique urban habitat for wildlife.
The restoration of native trees and grasses, as well as the regeneration of the eroding shoreline, is essential for protecting ecological diversity on the verdant lakeside grounds.
The museum’s work with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to remove invasive species will drastically improve soil conditions at the site, contributing to the health of native trees and the recruitment of young native species. This substantial transformation of the landscape at Laguna Gloria will improve the riparian community along the Colorado River and provide habitat to wide-ranging wildlife, contributing to the health of the urban environment in Austin. Most critically, the continuing maintenance and preservation of heritage trees will ensure the ecosystem at Laguna Gloria is resilient to climate change, including floods and periods of drought.
Cultivating a Legacy
In 2017, The Contemporary Austin received a generous $25,000 gift from an anonymous donor to support the ongoing maintenance and preservation of Laguna Gloria’s trees. Presently, the museum is seeking matching gifts to grow the Heritage Tree Fund for Laguna Gloria.
With an increasing number of visitors and upcoming construction for the Master Plan, donations to the Heritage Tree Fund will ensure hundreds of native trees continue to thrive at Laguna Gloria, cultivating a legacy to improve the urban environment for future generations of Texans.
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IMAGE CREDITS: Laguna Gloria with view of artworks by Ryan Gander, The day to day accumulation of hope, failure and ecstasy — An institutional maze (Steptrapode) and A bright spark in a dim world (Panopticon Art School and Museum), 2017. Commissioned by The Contemporary Austin with funds provided by the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation. Installation view, The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, Austin, Texas, 2017. Artwork © Ryan Gander. Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery, London / New York. Image courtesy The Contemporary Austin. Photograph by Brian Fitzsimmons. // Laguna Gloria with view of artwork by John Grade, Canopy Tower, 2015. Installation view, The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, Austin, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Cynthia Reeves. Photograph by Brian Fitzsimmons. // Rendering of Laguna Gloria Master Plan Phase I, Invasive Species Removal, 2017, with John Grade's Canopy Tower. Courtesy Reed Hilderbrand. // Double-crested Cormorant, one of over 200 species of birds that visit the site.