Header photo: courtesy UW Botanic Gardens
Connecting children and adults to the wonders of nature
The Arboretum Foundation provides important funding for the UW Botanic Gardens Environmental Education Program at the Arboretum. The program connects children and adults to nature and teaches them about the vital role that plants, forests, and wetlands play in our environment. Your support helps us provide broad access to unique, experiential nature education—from the Fiddleheads Forest preschoolers, who build their confidence and resilience in a magical setting among the trees, to our elementary school scientists, who use the Arboretum’s 230 acres as an ever-changing outdoor classroom.
The School Field Trip Program—our largest and most far reaching children’s education initiative—brings more than 6,000 students from kindergarten to 6th grade to connect to the natural world in the Arboretum. Today’s high cost of curriculum-based, field-study programs renders it impossible for many schools to fulfill this aspect of a child’s education. We take this as a challenge and offer the “outdoor classroom” as an affordable means for children to experience nature and science in a way that they could not anywhere else in the city.
Scholarship and bus funds: Funding from the Arboretum Foundation enables UW Botanic Gardens to maintain low program costs for school field trips. We also provide financial assistance to students in the National School Lunch Program and schools from underserved communities. Scholarship and transportation funds make the Arboretum’s acclaimed field-trip program accessible to all.
Family programs, nature preschool, and more: In addition, the Arboretum serves over 1,200 children and families through the Family & Community Programs
Arboretum on the Move
New for fiscal year 2021 is an exciting pilot program, Arboretum on the Move, bringing our outdoor environmental education classes directly to schools, especially in underserved neighborhoods. Education staff will scout out open public spaces within walking distance of selected schools—initially focusing on those schools where 50% of the student population is on the National School Lunch Program—and conduct field trips there.
Arboretum on the Move classes will be held at pre-selected public spaces that are best suited to bringing a particular topic to life, such as a local creek or pond for the wetlands class. Just as our regular on-site program engages students, Arboretum on the Move will have a variety of program options that can be tailored to accommodate a range of spaces, schedules, and budgets.
Plans are underway to provide on-site and virtual programs with a YMCA operating out of an elementary school, and several non-profit educational organizations in South King County. These partners all line up squarely with our goals for providing broader community access to high-quality environmental programs
Started in 2017, this program recruits 10 to 12 high school students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds to work with youth in the Arboretum summer camps. Each intern receives a $1,500 stipend for their 50 hours of work under the supervision of an environmental education coordinator. As part of their work, each intern leads a science-based activity for the 1st- to 3rd-grade campers. During the final week of their internship, they meet with a variety of environmental professionals and academics and learn about career options.
In addition to exposing the interns to a wide variety of environmental careers, primary programmatic goals include:
- strengthen self-confidence.
- experience stretching beyond their comfort zone.
- take responsibility for planning and leading others.
How you can help
Help cultivate the next generation of environmental leaders by making a donation today in support of the education programs at the Arboretum. Give online and using the “comment” feature in our donation form, designate your gift to the education program ) or call the Foundation at 206-325-4510.
Jan 13, 2021
In early December 2020, we created a temporary online Arboretum Gift Shop filled with nature-themed treasures from our on-site store. Designed for the holiday season, it remained opened until December 21 and netted more than $6,500 for the Arboretum. Thanks to...
Jan 4, 2021
We know that fall is the best time to plant shrubs in our region. But what are some of the more beautiful, useful, and easy-care varieties to grow? In the latest issue of the Arboretum Bulletin, garden writer Barbara Ashmun profiles a dozen of her favorite shrubs...
Dec 10, 2020
In late November, the Arboretum opened a new composting restroom in the bus-turnaround area of the Pacific Connections Garden. Solar-powered, ADA accessible, and odorfree, it is first restroom of its kind in a Seattle city park. The unit will alleviate the lack of...