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Spring and flowers and students, o my! - Mar 18, 2011

by Kelle Hartman, Educator, Green Bay Botanical Garden

As an Educator at Green Bay Botanical Garden, I lead more than 3000 students on tours through the gardens each spring. “Wow, that has to be tiring!” I’m told by many people. Yes, it can be tiring, but it is also a very rewarding and important part of what we do at the Garden.

At a time when more and more learning is done in front of a screen, a trip into the Garden can open up a world of adventure for these students! As I hand out leaves of the anise hyssop plant and ask students to guess what it smells like, I hear oohs and ahs as they exclaim “licorice” or “black jelly beans”. Children are always fascinated to discover that flavorings for cooking and even candy come from plants. After encouraging a group to feel the lamb’s ear, we notice that the flowers are buzzing with bees. Suddenly, I hear a student shout, “Look, I can see its pollen baskets!” and begin pointing out the pollen baskets to classmates.

These are the experiences that are so important to these young minds. Hearing facts and studying diagrams in a classroom can only take them so far. Students need to experience these events in person to bridge the gap between knowing and understanding. A student who has pointed out a bee’s pollen baskets to a friend will remember them far better than just seeing them in a picture. This is our mission at Green Bay Botanical Garden – to stimulate an appreciation for and an understanding of the world of horticulture and the enduring relationships between plants and people. And we strive to do this with even our youngest visitors!

If you’d like to join the dedicated crew of volunteer Garden Docents that lead school tours and help with summer and family programs, please join me for our Garden Docent Training. You’ll learn more about the Garden, its plants, and the interpretive techniques used to bring new experiences to area youth. Or, consider bringing your class or group to the Garden for a tour!

Would you like more information?

School Tours & Curriculum                    Group Visits

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