International Paper Company has donated $50,000 to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden to be the presenting sponsor of its STEM Education program. This donation will provide additional opportunities to teach STEM to students, to fund grants for Title 1 schools to bring their students to the garden, and to equip educators in the latest STEM teaching practices.
Allyson Marbut, Dallas Arboretum’s vice president of education, said “In addition to being a top display garden where we grow plants through our experiential educational field trips, outreach programs and professional development for teachers, we grow minds, too. Thanks to this grant, we’ll be able to fund these STEM education initiatives.”
The STEM programs that the gift will support include the following:
- Field Trips and Financial Assistance for Title I Schools: Each year, the Dallas Arboretum provides funding for bus stipends and scholarships to visiting low-income schools.
- Nature Naturally: Through this outreach program, local teachers can bring any of the Dallas Arboretum’s indoor lessons directly to their own school campus.
- Summer Institute: This one-week summer camp partners with the Vickery Meadows Foundation Eagle Scholars to provide unique STEM learning experiences for at-risk 7th grade Tasby Middle School students.
- STEM First and STEM in Action: The Dallas Arboretum partners with DISD elementary schools to implement two off-site after school programs, STEM First (3rd grade) and STEM in Action (5th grade) along with a visit to the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.
- Professional Development for Educators: Arboretum educators provide teacher training programs that cover best practices in STEM education and engage teachers with ways to integrate hands-on activities in their classroom.
The Dallas Arboretum’s education programs focus on outdoor STEM, empowering children to apply science concepts aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for K-6 curriculum to the outdoor world. The Arboretum Education team utilizes 150 interactive, science driven lessons that immerse more than 100,000 North Texas students, with a focus from kindergarten to 6th grade, in invigorating scientific inquiry each year.
The Dallas Arboretum’s most elaborate educational resource is the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden (RMCAG), an 8-acre outdoor science museum full of interactive science based displays, laboratories and specialized outdoor learning galleries. Its design juxtaposes White Rock Lake and surrounding ecosystems with informal scientific observation and inquiry. To create this revolutionary “living classroom,” Arboretum educators first identified those concepts that children struggle to master, then targeted these difficult concepts through RMCAG’s hands-on, curriculum-aligned activities. Engaging lessons vary from students learning about Texas wetlands through sampling and identification of macroinvertebrates in Wetlands Biologists, to learning the importance of trees in Tree Trek, the cycles of the earth in Dynamic Earth, to a study of the planets through a Planetary Voyage on our five-foot OmniGlobe. Visits to the Moody Oasis provide opportunities to learn the importance of monarch butterflies as they pass by on their way to their winter grounds and Pure Energy with its water, solar and wind interactives engaging them in learning the importance of renewable resources.
Since its ribbon-cutting in 2013, RMCAG has hosted more than 1.7 million visits from children and families, students on field trips, summer camp participants, and curious adults.
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218. The Dallas Arboretum is also the home of the internationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. It is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Regular general admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for children 2-12 and free for Arboretum members and children two and under. See website for special discounts. There is an additional cost of $3 per person for entrance into the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. On-site parking is $15; pre-purchased online parking is $9. The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum. The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department. WFAA is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum. For more information, call 214.515.6500 or visit www.dallasarboretum.org.