Professional Development

At The New York Botanical Garden, we grow more than just plants—we grow people too. We strive to deliver innovative and interactive programs for teachers that help you bring the world of plants to your students in fun and exciting ways.

NYBG’s Professional Development Program for Teachers provides educators the tools and training they need to enhance their students’ understanding of ecology, plant science, and the world around them. Teachers can enroll in specialized week-long Institutes and customizable workshops at the Garden and can take advantage of free online resources and lesson plans. Our programs align with New York City Science Standards, New York State Learning Standards, National Science Education Standards, and the Common Core Learning Standards. Whether you want to build a school garden or find more engaging ways to introduce inquiry and observation skills into the classroom, the Garden’s experts are ready to train you.

Professional Development Institute

Six-day Professional Development Institutes at the Garden cover topics from school gardening to earth science, and offer teachers the tools and training they need to integrate plants and science into the classroom. Immersed in guided breakout sessions, outdoor workshops, and lesson planning, participants develop field-tested, hands-on, inquiry-based activities for their students, which can be integrated into curricula that meet Common Core Learning standards. For teachers who wish to learn more about plant, earth, and ecological sciences, the NYBG Institutes are truly unmatched. P-credits and state licensing hours are available.

NYBG’s Professional Development Institutes for Teachers provide educators the tools and training they need to enhance their students’ understanding of ecology, plant science, and the world around them. These programs provide a six-day immersion in which participants learn how to make teaching fun through field-tested, hands-on, inquiry-based activities that focus on STEM education. Participants may earn “P” in-service credits from the New York City Department of Education or up to 175 hours for State License requirements.

Cost: $200* (includes curriculum materials, reproducible handouts, and plants)

*Three “P” in-service credits from the New York City Department of Education are available for all Institutes. Additional fees and requirements apply for P-credit courses. You should apply first for P-credits via The After School Professional Development Program (ASPDP). Then, after registering with ASPDP, you can return to NYBG to register with us.

For more information, email or call 718.817.8140.

Botany in the Garden

Dates: October 1—November 5 (6 Saturdays)
Construct understandings about different plants; how they grow and reproduce and the role they play in ecology. Register

School Gardening 101—Creating a Garden

Dates: February 20–25 (Monday–Saturday)
Advocate, plan, create or revive a school garden. Hone skills for designing, budgeting and integrating the garden across the curriculum. Register

Helping S.T.E.M. Take Root (Grades 3–8)

Dates: April 10–15, 2017
Integrate S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) content into curriculum with a focus on Citizen Science. Register

Seedlings Institute for Early Childhood Educators (Grades Pre-K–2)

Dates: July 10–15 (Monday–Saturday)
Strengthen science instruction using inquiry-based activities to support cross-curricular connections between math and literacy for early learners. Register

Plant, Learn, & Grow: School Gardening 201—Curriculum Connections

Dates: July 17–22 (Monday–Saturday)
Connect seasonal plantings and practical maintenance of school gardens into an integrated classroom curriculum. Register

The Art of Science—CHIHULY

Dates: July 24–29 (Monday–Saturday)
Observe the monumental glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly and explore how forms found in nature can provide an inquiry-based framework for learning and art making. Register


Administrators seeking additional professional development opportunities for their teachers can select from a menu of half- or full-day customized workshops. Prearranged groups of educators can choose from workshop topics such as Connecting Science and the Common Core, S.T.E.M. Education and the Living Environment, and more, or suggest their own topic. Garden staff will work with educators to customize a program suited to the needs of each group.

Customized Professional Development Workshops

These half- or full-day customized programs are available for prearranged groups of educators. Choose from the topics below or suggest your own and our staff will work with you to customize a program suited to the needs of your group.

Suggested Workshop Topics

  • The New York Botanical Garden: An Extension of Your Classroom
  • Connecting Science and the Common Core
  • Math and Nature Connections
  • Gardening and Growing at School
  • S.T.E.M. Education and the Living Environment
  • Forests of the World
  • Wonderful Wetlands
  • Nature for Early Learners (Pre-School)

Half-day Seminar: $35 per teacher
Full-day Seminar: $65 per teacher
Fees include all supplies, materials, and entry into the Garden. Coffee and tea are provided.

A minimum of 12 participants is required.
Call 718.817.8140 to set up a Professional Development Workshop for your school or district educators.

Teacher Membership

Become a Teacher Member of the Garden for only $64 a year, and enjoy all the benefits of Membership. Call 718.817.8724 for details.

Support provided by Cynthia D. Brodsky, The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, the Laura J. Niles Foundation, Inc., and the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc.