Arboretum News

Youth Education: Year in Review

More than 13,000 Minnesota students learned about plants through the Arboretum in 2021. Make plans to join the fun in 2022!

By the Arboretum Youth Education Team

As we discussed ideas for an “Arboretum Youth Education 2021 year in review” summary, one of our staff jokingly suggested a “top mishaps” reel that could include such noteworthy list items as snakes in the office, inopportunely placed mouse nests, ground nesting wasps, and of course a multitude of kid antics. While we eventually decided against this idea, all joking aside, it does seem especially appropriate this year to make sure to remember both the low and high points, the challenges and the triumphs made especially rewarding by weathering those difficulties. 

Looking back over the year, there are so many things that we’re grateful for: finding new ways to connect with our audiences when we couldn’t do so face to face, having students return to in-person programming at the Arboretum, our incredible volunteers, and so much more. While it’s difficult to summarize a year like 2021, here are some fun statistics that we hope will give you a glimpse inside the Arboretum Youth Education department this year:

12,290+ soil bags packed

During the pandemic while we weren’t able to serve students with our usual in-person field trip or Plantmobile programming, we created and sent out “activity kits” that included supplies and instructions for kids to engage in hands-on plant science activities from wherever they were learning and playing. Most of these kits included at least one planting activity – which meant packing a lot of soil bags to be shipped! Youth Ed volunteers have logged over 400 hours this year, and we’re so grateful for all of their hard work on this task and many, many others.

60 magic wands

After having to cancel all in-person programs for summer 2020, we were very excited to welcome kids back for summer camps in 2021. Inspired by the Harry Potter books and movies, campers in the “Hogswood Forest” day camp made magic wands, explored the magical natural world of the Arboretum and took part in “classes” like Herbology, Potions, and Care of Magical Creatures.

In other day camps, magic wands, were replaced by bug vacuums, stick people, epic forts and owl pellets as some of the intriguing artifacts of a wondrous (and safe) return to Arboretum camps where exploration is encouraged and a love of the natural world and all its wonders is fostered.

Make plans to join the day camp fun in 2022! The Summer 2022 Youth Education Program will be posted in mid-January, with registration opening at 9 a.m. Jan. 18, 2022.

300,000+ honey bees

Hive opening programs at the Tashjian Bee & Pollinator Discovery Center introduced children to the fascinating world of honey bees. During the spring and summer, visitors and campers signed up for programs where they put on a beekeeping suit and took a look inside one of the honey bee hives at the bee center. In the peak of summer, each hive might house over 50,000 honey bees!

13,072 Minnesota students “dug into” Arb hands-on plant science experiences

From our “Minnesota Harvest” field trip, which focused on locally-grown foods, at the Farm at the Arb this October to the pollinator-themed field trip-in-a-box shared with every 2nd grader in the St Paul school district, we were honored to connect young people to plants and the planet through hands-on scientific exploration.

1 experience of wonder in a garden can change a life, can change the world

Your support of the Arboretum helps make these impactful programs possible. Come explore, dig, hike, imagine, grow, plant, learn, create, discover and play or volunteer with us at the Arboretum this summer!

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