TREEmendous TREEhouses, a major regional outdoor exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, ran June 1-September 28, 2003. This blockbuster exhibit featured 12 custom-designed, interactive, fantasy tree houses that stretched the definition of the classic tree house and sparked the imagination of young and old alike. Educational programming centered on the tree houses, exploring multiple themes including plants, people and the environment. Special events for Atlanta Botanical Garden members and for the general public further encouraged exploration of tree houses and the Atlanta Botanical Garden's world-class facilities.
A call for entries attracted the region's most innovative and creative architects, landscape architects, designers, builders, engineers and businesses to interpret the concept of tree houses in the 21st Century. Collaboration between individuals and businesses was encouraged.
A blue-ribbon panel of judges selected 11 tree house designs from more than 50 models submitted in mid-February. The judging panel was charged with selecting designs based on creativity, educational merit and theme. An emphasis was placed on designs that stretched the definition of the traditional tree house and offered educational opportunities for visitors. All designs were required to be "tree friendly" and not cause damage to the tree being used. While not a requirement, designs accessible to all visitors were given extra consideration.
Educational programming and special events surrounding TREEmendous TREEhouses included the Father's Day Kickoff with barbecue, bluegrass and lessons on tree house building. Self-guided tours were available by means of Adventure Backpacks and Garden Discovery Carts throughout the woodland and were staffed each weekend. That year, the summer-long weekly Environmental Day Camp for young campers ages 4-10 focused on trees and tree houses, tree identification, layers in the forest canopy, plant parts, products from trees and basic sketching. "Drop-in" classes for children and their families also were held: Trees in the Woodland, Bird Habitats and Construct a Miniature Tree House.
Adult continuing education featured such classes as tree drawing classes, a program on environmentally sustainable design and tree selection for home landscapes.
The TREEmendous TREEhouses exhibit was funded in part by Home Depot, Turner South, Atlanta Home, accessAtlanta and Re?source Real Estate Marketing, Inc.