From the Nominator
"You work in the Arizona Garden, trust me, you will shed blood," begins our feature on Stanford's cactus garden. Set off from the hub of modern-day campus action, many of our readers knew little about it or that it had virtually disappeared under weeds and encroaching trees by the time the university attempted to rescue it in 1997. Essentially, it's been sitting there quietly, tended by a small, dedicated group.
And so our story covered the historical (the garden was commissioned by the Stanford family to wow guests at their Palo Alto farm in the years before their son died and they built a university), botanical (what looks like prescient climate planning today was, in actuality, a display of pure 19th-century opulence), and cultural significance of the landmark (its remote location meant it was the perfect make-out spot for past generations of students). In doing so, it added significantly to Stanford lore. It's an enticing read, perfect for a summertime issue. The story gave our readers something they didn't even know they wanted, tickling their curiosity and making them proud—all without drawing blood.
From the Judges
The judges were thoroughly impressed with the nomination, noting that it was a fun and engaging article that shed light on an interesting part of campus history. The author's light touch and clever asides kept readers engaged throughout, while their engaging prose, descriptions, and quotes helped to bring the story to life.