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Green getaway provides breath of fresh air

“Veronica’s Garden,” a new indoor terrarium, is breathing beauty and oxygen into the Student & Administrative Services Center.

Named in honor of Veronica M. Muzic, the first recipient of Penn College’s Master Teacher Award, the terrarium has been installed in the former “Core” on the second floor of the building and is visible from all three floors. Visitors are also welcome to enter the terrarium and meander along a small curved walkway to take in the greenery or sit awhile on one of two benches.

The “Core” featured seating and a portable whiteboard, but the small meeting space was rarely used. President Davie Jane Gilmour suggested the re-envisioning of the space as a terrarium – a feature she has noticed in various venues during her travels. The college’s grounds crew, known for its creative additions to the campus scene, took on the project from design to construction and planting.

Andrea L. Mull, horticulturist/grounds and motorpool supervisor, crafted five ornamental spheres that hang into the space. She and Chad L. Karstetter, horticulturist/motorpool lead person, produced large floor planters and two bench seats that resemble mountain stone. Metalwork fabricated by Chad M. Aloisio, service and design technician, adds visual interest to the glass garden teeming with living plants and accents of faux foliage and decorative curiosities, including metal bugs, ladybugs and an owl.

“We wanted to create a good, healthy environment for the building,” Mull said. “It’s a good oxygen source. Indoor terrariums do a lot for closed buildings (buildings where you can’t open the windows).” Other General Services staffers adding their talents to the DIY “makeover” include Jeffery M. Taylor, mechanic assistant, motorpool/grounds, and Mary Jo DeVinney, horticulturist. “For Dr. Gilmour to allow us to design this, it’s amazing,” Mull said, adding, “We want people to escape, stop thinking about work, and come in here and think about what life’s all about.”

Muzic retired as vice president for academic affairs/provost in 2006 after 30 years of service to the college as a faculty member and administrator. The highest honor for Penn College faculty also carries her name: the Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award.

– Photos by Cindy Davis Meixel, writer/photo editor

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