The Botanic Garden in Traverse City welcomed a new addition on Friday in the form of a 1,000 pound cow statue.
The statue is of a world famous cow called Colantha, and it’s part of the new Children’s Sensory Garden at Historic Barnes Park.
Efforts for the new garden is headed by the Friendly Garden Club.
Sandi Clark, president of the Friendly Garden Club, says it’s been their dream to establish a children’s garden.
“Over the last two years we’ve had extensive planning sessions and engaged a landscape architect to help us design the garden,” Clark explains. “The whole theme of the Children’s Garden is farm related, because we’re in the farm area of the State Asylum.”
The garden will feature educational activities and will include a small amphitheater, a maze and opportunities for kids to learn how to plant and harvest.
Tracie Macpherson, designer of the new garden, says the statue will allow kids to have a bit of a better understanding of cows.
“She’s going to be 1,000 pounds and she’s anatomically correct, the designer that made her actually had someone look at her muscle structure,” Macpherson said. “These days children don’t usually stand next to cows the way they did when this was an agricultural community and lots of kids don’t know what their body looks like next to a big cow. So, we’re going to have a representation of Colantha here.”
Colantha stayed in a building at the farm area on the grounds of the old state hospital where she lived from 1916 to 1932. During that time, Colantha made the most milk that’s ever been produced by a cow.
“The big deal is when Colantha was producing milk it was the days before any genetics. So, the fact that she was such a huge milk producer all on her own was a big, big deal,” Macpherson stated.
Executive Director of the Botanic Garden at Historic Barnes Park, Matthew Ross, says she didn’t just produce a lot of milk, but also helped some of the patients here over 100 years ago.
“She represented one of the many animals that lived here at the State Hospital that was apart of the therapy for patients who were staying here,” Ross explained.
The new Children’s Garden plans to be a fun educational experience for kids of all abilities and ages, and they’re excited for Colantha to be apart of it.
“It’s a great moment for the community. It’s really a great way to look back at our heritage and our history for the site,” Ross said. “It’s also one of the hallmarks of the design here at the Sensory Garden, which will be a great community resource for kids of all abilities and all ages to come and explore the Botanic Garden.”
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