Public Education for Children and Adults

The New York Botanical Garden educates people of all ages about the science, function, and beauty of plants to generate awareness, inspire appreciation, and provide an understanding of the importance of plants to all life on Earth. The Garden’s Education Division offers a wide range of structured, programmatic experiences at all levels of learning that is unrivaled at any botanical garden in the world.

Over 300,000 schoolchildren, families, and teachers participate in education programs at the Garden each year, utilizing three facilities. Since 1998, the 12-acre Everett Children’s Adventure Garden has featured an array of indoor and outdoor inquiry-based learning galleries, integrating horticulture and exhibitry to convey a broad range of plant science concepts. A model for children’s teaching gardens, the Adventure Garden has been admired and imitated throughout the world. In addition, the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden offers children and families the opportunity to learn about plants and nature through hands-on vegetable gardening. The GreenSchool offers hands-on, inquiry-based workshops enhanced by explorations in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the Forest, and throughout the Garden’s grounds.

The Garden’s Professional Development program expands schoolteachers’ knowledge of plant science and ecology, exploring ways to make lessons stimulating and fun for students, while reinforcing state and federal science teaching objectives. The Garden’s Curriculum Development program partners with academic publishers to create and distribute textbooks and interactive kits brimming with lesson materials and grade-appropriate activities. Three SEEDS (Science Exploration and Education Discovery Series) science curriculum units have been developed for grades K–1, 2–3, and 4–5 and two national science curriculum units Economic Botany for grades 6–8 and Ethnobotany for grades 9–11, also have been developed.

The popular Explainer Program engages teens as volunteers in the Children's Adventure Garden, developing both plant-science knowledge as well as communication and presentation skills, through personal mentoring and hands-on training to serve as facilitators of family activities.

Adult students benefit from the more than 500 courses and lectures offered each year through the Garden’s Continuing Education program. Certificate programs are offered in seven plant—related disciplines. Class offerings range from one-hour lectures to five-week intensive programs. For students seeking full-time horticultural study with a strong practical component, the Garden’s nationally accredited School of Professional Horticulture provides a rigorous, two-year educational experience.

With these extensive offerings and its 250-acre classroom, the Botanical Garden is an ideal place to learn about plants—for children and adults and students and teachers alike.