Durango BOtanical Society

Building Public Gardens Committed to Demonstration and Education

Art in the Garden


Matt and Janet Kenna donated the Puma to the Durango Botanical Society. They wanted the Puma to be incorporated into the Durango Botanical Society’s Library Demonstration Garden, located on the river trail behind the Durango Public Library.  The Kennas are environmentally conscious supporters of non-profits. Janet was one of the founders of Durango Nature Studies in Durango and the former owner of For the Birds.

 We have a very special sculpture in the garden. The Demonstration Garden is home to the Thomas Grams Memorial sculpture which was created by Miki Harder, a Durango local artist and the same artist who designed this particular Puma. Thomas Grams was a local dentist who joined the International Assistance Mission, providing dental care in remote places such as Guatemala and Afghanistan. Thomas Grams was an avid volunteer.  He was killed while on a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan. The Demonstration Garden is also an all volunteer garden and this seemed the perfect place to honor his memory.

 The theme of both of these sculptures incorporates the ravens Miki is so well known for. It seemed only natural for the Puma live side by side with the Grams memorial. The Puma is now the property of DBS but still needs to meet the city criteria for art placement (this is for a concrete pad to be placed in the garden).

 Stop by for some yummy treats and a commemorative wine glass flower arrangement.    

Anyone who is interested can make a monetary donation at the teller window for direct deposit into the DBS account. You can also send a check to DBS 1400 Main Ave. Durango, CO 81301.  If you have questions please e mail dbs81301@gmail.com or call 970-749-5642. You can also click here and go directly to the donation box.

Click here to donate now.


Are you wondering about the Pumas?      Why are they here?

The Project:

San Juan Mountain Association’s Pumas on Parade was a campaign with many facets. 

·   It was a public art event engaging local talent… 
·   An education effort teaching resource and wildlife values … 
·   A creative opportunity to boost tourism and bolster the economy … 
·   And an effective and a meaningful way for communities to join together.

Project Goals were to:

  Increase the visibility, traffic, and cash flow to businesses in all our communities.

  Form area-wide partnerships and resourceful alliances among businesses, the art community, and Public Land agencies.

  Enhance the tourist experience by linking the communities along the Hwy 160 corridor with fine art pieces.

  Support SJMA’s ongoing educational outreach; heighten SJMA’s visibility and effectiveness; and enhance public awareness of the importance of caring for our natural & cultural resources.

  Reinforce the reputation of the region as an emerging art center.

  Celebrate the San Juan National Forest Centennial and spotlight the value of our public lands.

Public Art:

Pumas on Parade was modeled after dozens of similar public art projects world-wide, among them: “Orcas in the City” in British Columbia, and closer to home, The Trail of Painted Ponies in New Mexico. The concept is to:

·   commission a sculpture of an animal;

·   engage artists to adorn replicas of the sculpture;

·   invite businesses and others to sponsor individual art pieces;

·   exhibit the sculptures throughout the area for the public’s enjoyment;

·   and, in the end, auction the finished artwork to benefit a worthy cause.

Timed to coincide with the celebration of the San Juan National Forest Centennial, Pumas on Parade exhibited some 30 painted (or otherwise adorned) larger than life-size, cast mountain lion sculptures to showcase the talent of area artists, while highlighting the importance of careful stewardship of our vulnerable public lands.

Why Pumas?

We selected the mountain lion for its powerful aesthetic and symbolism. This elusive predator – a Four Corners’ native – is integral to our ecosystem and arguably the most majestic animal on our lands. Cautious and cagey, the graceful puma embodies the beauty of nature, while epitomizing the intense conflicts triggered by human-wildlife proximity.

This project took place as an online auction in 2005 and was one of the most successful fund raising events in our area. 

Our Garden Shed was designed by Dave Claussen. 

The City Youth Art Program unveils new work in the Library Demonstration Garden:
A circular sculpture depicting a train and mountains graces the view of the garden in the rear of the Durango Public Library Monday. The sculpture is part of the City of Durango Public Art Commission’s Youth Art On Loan Program.nlarge photo


A circular sculpture depicting a train and mountains graces the view of the garden in the rear of the Durango Public Library Monday. The sculpture is part of the City of Durango Public Art Commission’s Youth Art On Loan Program.

From exacting miniature replicas of 20th-century rolling stock to historically precise recreations of late-Victorian dress, Durango’s cultural passions can tend toward the crotchety.

Contributing students

Students involved in making “The Train Goes ’Round and ’Round” included Durango High School seniors Megan Coughlan, Bella Bernazzani, Ansel Schiavone, Alison Gillaspy, Rayven Pike, Johnathan Malarsie, Brendon Shaline, Luckas Morgan, Josh Manzanares, Brandon Little and Austin Wertz; juniors Patrick Leach, Haakon Sigurslid and Tyler Campbell; and sophomore Emma Buchanan.

J Burnite, DHS’s ceramics and sculpture teacher, said the piece took two semesters of focused labor from about 40 students and required an unprecedented amount of collaboration between the high school’s traditional arts departments and its welding program.


Mike Harder  is the artist who created the Thomas Grams Memorial. She is turning the base to show the birds in flight.
Thomas was a long time resident of Durango and a lifelong volunteer. He was overseas  providing dental care to Afghan children. Thomas and nine  other people were killed after two weeks working in a remote village providing medical care to impoverished children. In remembrance of him, and to honor his legacy of giving and inspiring, some of his friends and family worked with  several groups, including the Public Art Commission, the Durango Public Library, the Durango Botanical Society and Durango Parks and Recreation to place a sculpture as a memorial in the Library Demonstration Garden, a  Botanical Garden,  east of the library, next to the Animas River Trail.

" Desert Water Tower"

The 2010 Winner of the Youth Art Competition was Keagan Felker. He is a student at Animas High School. 

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