Photo of the Everett Children's Adventure Garden gate in springtime

High School Explainer Program

Virtual Open House:
Saturday, April 10, 2021; 11 a.m.

Do you know a teen interested in science, the environment or working with children? We are hosting a Virtual Open House for teens and their families to learn more about this volunteer internship and the application process. The Intern Explainer Program taking place from September 2021 through January 2022 is for students currently in high school. RSVP to to receive an invitation to attend the Open House on Zoom. Please download the Zoom app on your phone or computer before the event to ensure fast and easy access to the complete Open House program.

Application Deadline:
April 30, 2021

Interview Sessions (Attendance to only one session is required):
Saturdays, May 15 & 22, 2021
Sunday, May 16, 2021

Intern Orientation:
Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 7 p.m.

Intern Training:
Tuesday–Friday, August 31–September 3, 2021

Virtual Volunteer Shifts:
Saturdays or Sundays, September 11, 2021–January 29, 2022; 10 a.m.–12 p.m. while NYBG’s Everett Children’s Adventure Garden remains closed; will shift to Onsite Internship shifts if reopening of the Children’s Garden is possible, Saturdays or Sundays; 9:45 a.m.–2:15 p.m. or 1:15 p.m.–5:45 p.m.


  1. Explainers are high school students who have been accepted into a competitive internship program and work as volunteer educators in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden.

  2. Explainers learn about nature and plant science in order to become environmental educators for children and families, traditionally by exploring the Garden, but also using new digital tools. They commit to a minimum of 100 training and volunteer hours.

    At this time, the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden is closed. The Explainer Program continues to meet in online sessions as a Virtual Internship. In the Virtual Internship, Explainers work in teams to develop a culminating project to share a science concept with children through media, posters or activities.

    If the Children’s Garden reopens in Spring 2021, the Explainer Program will shift back to be an Onsite Internship that takes place at the Children’s Garden. In the Onsite Internship, Explainers rotate through activity stations that are located both outside in the Garden and inside the Discovery Center.

  3. The Virtual Internship takes place on Zoom and Google Classroom. Interns come together to learn and explore science concepts and teaching practices with Coordinators and staff Explainers. Some offline research and project development is included in the 4 hour weekly volunteer commitment.

    The Onsite Internship takes place at the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. This is a unique, 12-acre outdoor/indoor museum at The New York Botanical Garden (in Bronx, NY). In this innovative space children discover plant science through fun and engaging educational programs. Playful elements such as topiaries and mazes capture children’s imaginations and create an atmosphere of exploration and fun.

  4. Teens share a sense of community, forge new friendships, and spend time outdoors exploring nature. Teens become more self-confident through public speaking, gain a deeper knowledge of a topic (plant science and ecology specifically), and share experiences with peers.

    During the Onsite Internship, MetroCards are provided to defray the cost of transportation to and from the Garden. Both the Virtual and Onsite Internship benefits include admission for Explainers’ families to visit the garden, discounts at the Cafe and Shop in the Garden as well as documentation of service hours and recommendations for college or other scholarship programs.

  5. Intern Explainers are accepted into the program twice a year in the spring or fall session. The application process for the fall session takes place late spring before summer break. Specific session dates are listed on the right-hand column of the website. Each session requires a commitment to all training days and one weekend shift of 4 hours for the duration of the internship. Interns who successfully complete internship requirements have the option to apply to advanced levels of the program.

  6. Students who submit complete applications by the Application Deadline (see above for dates) are invited to be interviewed. Students will be contacted via e-mail with an interview day. Group interviews are interactive and take place on Zoom. All applicants will receive an email following the interview with an admission decision.

    Accepted applicants will receive an invitation to attend the required Explainer Orientation with a parent or guardian on Zoom. Explainers accepted into the program are required to complete 12 hours of online training before they may begin actively volunteering. Dates of the orientation and training are noted on the website. Attendance is mandatory.

  7. There is no single type of person who is chosen to be an Explainer. The best Explainers are enthusiastic learners who enjoy nature, science, and sharing discoveries with others (especially children). Explainers learn to communicate with the public and gain confidence in a variety of circumstances. Explainers don’t always start out as great public speakers, but they do begin with a willingness to work and try hard.

  8. Application deadlines are strictly adhered to. If your application is submitted after the deadline, it will be considered for the next available session. If you would like to update your application, you may submit a new one at any time.

  9. If Explainers have completed 100 volunteer hours at the six-month deadline:

    • They may leave the Program
    • They may apply to be an Advanced Explainer
  10. Advanced Explainers are offered opportunities to participate in special projects throughout the year in addition to continuing to develop their teaching practice as environmental educators. They explore plant science and ecology subjects through active experiences at the Garden or online.

  11. There are a small number of part-time, paid leadership opportunities at the Adventure Garden for the positions of Master and Senior Explainer. When these positions become available, Advanced Explainers in good standing may apply by submitting a resume and cover letter.

  12. Explainers who do not complete the 100 hours before the six-month deadline do not receive a completion certificate or letter of recommendation for their service.

  13. Because all Explainers receive all the training and enrichment they will need for the Program, Explainers need only to be enthusiastic learners with an interest in being good educators and helping others to learn and grow! Having a general interest in nature, plant sciences, ecology, and education is very helpful.

  14. In the Virtual Internship, Explainers participate in 90-minute online learning sessions, working in small groups to complete projects and participate in discussions. There is additional offline time logged to complete research and assignments. Explainers also join 30-minute Mentor Groups facilitated by Master and Senior Explainers to hone career readiness skills like goal setting, resume writing and teamwork. This is about 4 hours a week of volunteer commitment.

    In the Onsite Internship, no matter what the season, Explainers help young visitors to use science process skills to explore nature and make their own discoveries. Activity stations focus on concepts such as prediction, observation, measurement (sense of scale), data collection, or journaling. Explainers help children to practice these skills through fun, engaging processes such as using a microscope or magnifying lenses, creating an observational drawing, collecting and observing samples from the pond wetland, or collecting data about life in the Garden. Explainers facilitate Family Programs by standing to lead hands-on activities with visiting families. Explainers switch between various activity stations and typically remain at a given station for up to one hour. Explainers receive a 30-minute break during every 4-hour shift.