The South Carolina Botanical Garden is an almost 300-acre sanctuary for local flora and fauna. It treasured by locals and visitors alike. The garden is constantly evolving and changing to maximize a visitor’s experience, including the Peter Rabbit garden and parts of the Natural Heritage garden. 

Up next for the Children’s Garden is the addition of a treehouse for young explorers, which Shannon Barrett, the landscape architect for the South Carolina Botanical Garden, said will be elevated and nestled at the upper edge of a ravine and wrapped around trees. And when two young boys heard about the treehouse project, they took it upon themselves to raise money for it.

Liam Kiss, 8, and Fynn McFarland, 9, approached their mothers and said they wanted to help raise money for the new project.  

“We made a lemonade and cookie stand to raise money for the treehouse for the Botanical Gardens,” Liam said.

Moms Jill Kiss and Marissa McFarland loved the idea and quickly set about securing a location and getting supplies. They set up a stand for two hours in front of a local store, selling their lemonade and cookies, as well as bookmarks that were made by Fynn.

Fynn has taken numerous classes for children at the garden, and the family is close with Sue Watts, the garden’s education director. It was from her Fynn first heard about the treehouse and the need to raise funding to have it built.

“I wanted to have a lemonade stand and I really want the treehouse to be built,” Fynn said.

According to Fynn’s mother, Marissa, the real desire wasn’t just to raise money, but also to raise awareness for the project. She said not many locals know of the plans and the boys wanted to let people know about the treehouse and everything else the Botanical Garden has to offer. 

In two hours, the boys were able to raise nearly $300 for the treehouse project and make many people aware of what is going on at the garden. 

According to Barrett, the first phase of fundraising is well underway, with special thanks to Liam and Fynn. 

“I think the important part is not how much money the children raised, but how much awareness they raised for this project,” Barrett said. “If people see that children feel passionately about helping the garden raise funds for the treehouse, think of what an impact that has on the community. They contributed significantly to building a sense of excitement around this project.”

Liam and Fynn are ambitious boys with hearts the size of the entire Botanical Garden. When he grows up, Liam said he would like to be a baker with his own bakery. Fynn would like to be a veterinarian for large animals.

But until then, they have gardens to explore and treehouse adventures ahead. 

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