2017 Spring Session is now CLOSED. 2017 Fall Session now accepting applications:
May 6; 2 p.m.
Saturdays, June 10 and June 17
August 29–September 1
September–January, weekends plus holidays and school breaks
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.
Explainers facilitate experiences with nature and plant science for children and families. Using seasonal lessons and explorations of the garden, Explainers prepare children to use their senses as tools for exploring the garden. Explainers rotate through activity stations that are located both outside in the garden and inside the Discovery Center. They commit to a minimum of 125 training and volunteer hours.
The Everett Children’s Adventure Garden is a unique, 12-acre outdoor/indoor museum at The New York Botanical Garden (in Bronx, N.Y.). In this innovative space children discover plant science through fun, hands-on, and engaging educational programs. Interactive exhibits convey different plant science concepts. Playful elements such as topiaries and mazes capture children’s imaginations and create an atmosphere of exploration and fun.
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. MetroCards or small stipends are provided to defray the cost of transportation to and from the Garden. Benefits also 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.
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 4.5 hours in either the morning or afternoon for the duration of the internship. Interns who successfully complete internship requirements have the option to apply to advanced levels of the program.
Applications are reviewed within the week of the Open House/Application Deadline (see dates on the right-side of the page). Applicants who are invited to be interviewed will be contacted via e-mail with an interview day. Group interviews are interactive and take place at the Adventure Garden. 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. Explainers accepted into the program are required to complete 25 hours of training before they may begin actively volunteering. Dates of training are noted on the website.
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.
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.
If Explainers have completed 125 volunteer hours at the six-month deadline:
- They may leave the Program
- They may continue with the Program by volunteering their same shift
- They may apply to be an Advanced Explainer
Advanced Explainers are offered opportunities to participate in special projects throughout the year. They explore plant science and ecology subjects through hands-on experiences at the Garden.
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 who have shown exceptional qualities as volunteers are considered.
Explainers who do not complete the 125 hours before the six-month deadline may continue with the Program by volunteering, but they will be ineligible for any advanced projects or positions.
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.
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, hands-on 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 rotate through activities or may stay at one station throughout a shift. Explainers receive a 30-minute break during every 4.5-hour shift. They also have the option of volunteering for the whole day.