Ozone & Gardens

Ozone Gardens

Our newest installation is an exhibit and a living garden, located on the museum grounds at the southeast corner of the building. The Ozone Garden is meant to raise awareness of the ozone pollution problem by educating the public about the impacts of air pollution on living systems. The garden will use "bioindicator" plants capable of detecting the presence of ozone air pollution through the development of distinctive leaf symptoms as a visible indicator of ozone pollution.

What is ozone?

Ozone is a gas that is found in two layers of the atmosphere that that surrounds the Earth: the stratosphere ("good" ozone) and the troposphere ("bad" ozone). Ozone is "good up high and bad nearby".

Why should we be concerned about ozone?

Aside from health problems, ozone also causes damage to plants, and we depend on many plants for our food. When plants are damaged, they produce fewer fruits and vegetables. This is a serious problem because high ozone levels can lead to food shortages in the future.

To see the current levels of ozone on the CU-Boulder campus:

Visit the Skywatch Observatory website and click on "Ozone" in the left panel.

EPA standards call for ground-level ozone to stay below 75 parts per billion (ppb) on average over an eight-hour period. Ozone concentrations above 40 ppb can cause negative effects on plants.

Other websites about ozone:

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Ozone Aware

NASA's Ozone Bioindicator Garden Project

International Cooperative Programme on Effects of Air Pollution on Natural Vegetation and Crops

Frappé - Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment

Effects of Ground Level Ozone on Our Health

News Releases

CU-boulder-and-ncar-ozone-gardens-reveal-harmful-effects-pollution - University of Colorado

Boulder's 'ozone garden' tells you when pollution is in the air - Denver Channel 7

Ozone Garden helps people visualize air pollution - Denver Channel 9

CU-Boulder, NCAR create 'ozone garden' to show effects of air pollution on plants - Boulder Daily Camera