The brightly colored, water-saving section will serve as the centerpiece to conservation efforts in the Botanical Garden portion of the zoo.

“I want this to be our cornerstone for irrigation on the Botanical Garden’s side,” said Lance Swearengin, zoo horticultural supervisor. “The animal department has a lot of conservation efforts they do, the botanical garden has very little. I would like this to be the cornerstone for our conservation efforts.”

Swearengin said another goal for the garden, besides conservation, is to show people how attractive the drought-tolerant plant selections in Oklahoma can be.

The garden, located by the Indian Rhinoceros exhibit, displays a diverse group of plant species such as yucca, Russian and Autumn Sage, agave and Blue-Stemmed Goldenrod. Many of these species bloom in vibrant hues of reds and yellows and serve as a colorful addition to the foliage.

These varieties are hardier and use less water than many other plant species.

“When people think drought-tolerant, they think of a desert landscape—cactus and rock,” Swearengin said. “We want them to look at the garden here and realize drought-tolerant can mean green, too.”

The June 1 opening will feature a talk from Zoo Director Dwight Lawson and a ceremonial planting.

“I’m very excited about this opening and the garden itself,” said Justin Moss, principle investigator for the Oklahoma City water conservation effort and associate professor at OSU. “It is a great culmination of our work with the Botanical Gardens and our efforts in conservation.”

For more information on the garden and the opening, please refer to


Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures.  This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email: [email protected] has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154

Leighona Bernstein
Communications Director
ThinkWater at Oklahoma State University
Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture
340 Agricultural Hall
Stillwater, OK 74078
[email protected]

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