Everett Children’s Adventure Garden Celebrates 10 Years of Providing Plant Science Education
In May 1998, the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden at The New York Botanical Garden opened its doors and became the first outdoor/indoor museum of plant science for children in the United States. This spring, the Adventure Garden celebrates 10 years of providing educational programs to teach children about plant science. Nearly 1.5 million children and adults have visited the Adventure Garden since its inception.
The 12-acre Adventure Garden is designed especially for children. Changing landscapes, a dynamic wetland and pond, and lush plantings provide a vibrant, living stage for hands-on learning, whether children come with their families or with a school group. The Adventure Garden includes outdoor and indoor learning galleries filled with interactive exhibits and colorful signs to promote discovery; each gallery focuses on a different aspect of plant science.
“We are extremely proud of the role that the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden has played in helping young people discover the world of plant science,” said Jeff Downing, Vice President for Education at The New York Botanical Garden. “Through its unique design, exhibitry, and programming, the Adventure Garden addresses a pressing need to improve general science education for children and instill an appreciation for the critical role of plants in our every day lives.”
The Adventure Garden offers a variety of programs for school groups and families that are designed to be engaging and fun, while conveying the importance of plants in our everyday lives.
Adventure Garden school programs promote inquiry-based learning through observation and hands-on activities. Students in pre-kindergarten through the fifth grade participate in workshops focusing on seasonal, plant science related topics that correlate with New York State and New York City standards.
Family programs are facilitated by teens trained as “Explainers.” Each year, approximately 150 teens are trained in plant science and program facilitation skills to serve as Explainers to help the public understand new ideas and to engage them in family programs. To date, more than 2,000 teens have participated in the program as volunteer Intern and Advanced Explainers and in paid positions as Master and Senior Explainers.
In addition to programs for youngsters, the Botanical Garden offers educators the chance to expand their knowledge about plant biology and ecology, as well, through the innovative, hands-on activities of the Professional Development Program.
The Adventure Garden was co-founded by Edith and the late Henry Everett, philanthropists and members of the Botanical Garden Board. In fall 2007, Mrs. Everett again demonstrated her continuing dedication to children’s education when she participated in the ribbon-cutting celebration for the grand opening of the Everett Garden Gate School Group Entrance, which was created exclusively for schoolchildren and their educators and was designed to further enhance children’s experience at the Garden.
Over the next seven years, the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden is slated to undergo major capital improvements. The Everett Children’s Adventure Garden is looking forward to many more decades of introducing children to the wonders of plants and to helping children delve into the mysteries of the plant kingdom.#
Debra Epstein is the Director of Children’s Education Programming at The New York Botanical Garden.