"If children aren't interested in botany or ecology," says Science Education Coordinator Christie Lawry of
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
, "or if they don't know they're interested, we hope they get hooked through art or food and those sorts of science-y topics."
The means for getting them hooked? Phipps' new collection of fall educational programs, including an expanded line-up of activities for 6- to 9-year-olds to go along with their programs for the youngest learners: 2- to 3-year-olds.
Akin to brief versions of summer camp, Lawry says, the fall camps "teach kids that there are things they can do on their own and with their families. We hope they can foster interest among their families" in nature and science as well.
The Friday evening "Ed-ventures" for 6- to 9-year-olds begin Oct. 5 and include "Kitchen Creations," "Art Party," "A Night in the Tropics," "Conservation Investigation," "Deserts and Healthy Desserts," and "Creepy Night Crawlers." Sessions for the youngest kids continue Nov. 16 through May 17. For these youngsters, Lawry says, "the topics we use are fairly simple," covering colors, the senses or counting, and allowing the tots to touch fuzzy or spiky plants, taste plant products (that is, fruit), and experience other parts of nature in a similar manner, in sessions called Little Sprouts Single Servings.
There are also "Celebrate! Fall Harvest" sessions for several younger age groups on Oct. 13, and "Celebrate! The Holidays" for the same groups on Dec. 15, while older kids can enjoy "Celebrate! Fitness at Phipps" on Nov. 10.
Some of the mini-camps are held in Phipps' Tropical Forest, others in its new classrooms in the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, but all use the Conservatory for scavenger hunts, to collect items for crafting, and other uses.
"We have more and more opportunities as the years go by," Lawry says, "and we are always looking for input about what the public wants from us."
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Christie Lawry, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens