News
 
Gravatar
Pin on Pinterest
WalkSTEM

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden held its very first walkSTEM tour, which was organized in collaboration with its founder, Dr. Koshi Dhingra. Dallas Arboretum Education teachers, Christine Dietz and Anna Sorelle, led guided explorations to help children and adults build an understanding of everyday connections to STEM-science, technology, engineering and math concepts.

 

On June 9 and 10 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Dallas Arboretum educators will lead walkSTEM tours through the garden starting at the Entry Plaza. Participants may also pick up a map for a self-guided experience at the information booth. The tour is free with paid garden admission.

 

Arboretum educators guided participants through four different areas of the garden where they encouraged them to explore the way in which math and science can be applied to learning about the world in a fun, interactive manner.  At the All American vegetable trial garden, they learned how different plants grow in the garden and estimated how much space a single plant needs to grow. In the Jonsson Color Garden, they looked for pollinators to see what types of flowers pollinators visited most often and observed the shapes and sizes of flowers that attracted these pollinators as well as the role color plays.  In A Woman’s Garden, they measured the tiles in the fountain, estimated the number of coins needed to cover the titles, and calculated their value. Finally, at Karen’s Gazebo, participants observed patterns, shapes, designs and repetition inherent in nature and design. 

 

At each station, educators asked questions to challenge their thinking and deductive skills. According to one parent, “This walk opened my eyes to the science and math all around me, especially in the Dallas Arboretum, which is truly a treasure in our city.”

 

For more information, visit www.dallasarboretum.org/walkSTEM.

 

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens 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. The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for children 3-12 and free for Arboretum members and children two and under. On-site parking is $15 or $9, if purchased in advance online. 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.  

Gravatar
Pin on Pinterest
Dallas Arboretum Martha Stewart and Kaki Hopkins

Martha Stewart, the most famous name in gardening, entertaining and decorating, received the Dallas Arboretum’s Great Contributor to Art Award on May 11 at the Celebrating Martha and her 90th book Martha’s Flowers event at the garden. She signed copies and talked about her latest book, Martha’s Flowers: A Practical Guide to Growing, Gathering, and Enjoying, which features gardening advice developed over decades, along with more than 100 creative arrangements by Kevin Sharkey, her longtime friend and co-author.

The event also included an Invitational Fine Art Acquisitions opportunity where guests bid on stunning artwork, curated by Gail Sachson, from some of Dallas’ finest artists, with all proceeds benefiting the Dallas Arboretum.

After signing books, Stewart toured the Dallas Arboretum, including the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, with President Mary Brinegar. Reverend Joshua Whitfield, pastoral administrator and rector of Saint Rita Catholic Community, gave the invocation.

Then guests enjoyed the delectable lunch, which featured recipes from Entertaining by Martha Stewart, her iconic entertaining guide that changed how hostesses thought about food and presentation. Prepared by Gil’s Elegant Catering, the menu included Chilled Vichyssoise, Escalope of Salmon with Sorrel Sauce served with Risotto, Haricots Verts and Carrots, Blackberry Mousse with Lavender and Lemon Tart with Rose Petals.

The centerpieces were inspired by arrangements from Martha’s Flowers and created by the following talented local floral artists:

  • John Holstead, PARC Floral and Events
  • Debby Jewesson, Branching Out Events
  • David Kimmel
  • Kristen Wolchik, Haute Floral

Alicia and Adam Rico of Bows & Arrows created additional gorgeous floral displays including an outside flower wall, popular with attendees taking photos in front of it, two inside floral walls and many colorful flowers artfully arranged on the stage.

As guests enjoyed their desserts, Dallas Arboretum Artscape Chairwoman Kaki Hopkins presented Martha Stewart with her award. Hopkins said, “Our honoree has taught us how to inject artistry into our everyday lives, enriching the living experience for ourselves and for those around us. It is the Arboretum’s extreme pleasure and honor to present the 2018 Artscape Great Contributor Award to an American entrepreneur, an icon of fine living, a best selling author, an artist of many disciplines, and a grower of flowers, Martha Stewart.”

Stewart thanked Hopkins and the Dallas Arboretum. “I love your beautiful arboretum. I know how much effort it takes to build such an amazing garden, so congratulations to Dallas. You are lucky to have such a place to gather and enjoy.”

The program concluded with a conversation with Stewart and Sharkey where they spoke about their latest book. Stewart’s father was an inspiration. “I’ve been growing flowers with my dad since I was 3.” She entered her first flower show when she was eight years old and won with her starburst orange lilies in a tall silver container.

Sharkey talked about living with flowers every day and encouraged people to plant trees and have fresh flowers for any occasion, not just special occasions.

Stewart talked about her various gardens, including the one in Seal Harbor, Maine, where David Rockefeller knocked on her door and welcomed her to the neighborhood.

Stewart concluded the afternoon with these encouraging words: “Teach your kids where food comes from…children don’t know that these days. I’m so happy to see the Children’s Garden at the Dallas Arboretum. Gardening gives pleasure, knowledge and appreciation for things you take for granted.”

A special thanks to Artscape sponsors, underwriters, hosts, patrons, artists and other silent auction donors.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218.   The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for children 3-12 and free for Arboretum members and children two and under. 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 dallasarboretum.org.

Gravatar
Pin on Pinterest
Martha Stewart

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden’s Artscape Chairwoman, Kaki Hopkins, announced that the most famous name in gardening, entertaining and decorating, Martha Stewart, is the Great Contributor to Art Award honoree and speaker on May 11 at Rosine Hall to talk about her latest book. Just released, Martha’s Flowers: A Practical Guide to Growing, Gathering, and Enjoying features decades of Martha’s gardening advice, along with more than 100 creative arrangements by Kevin Sharkey, her longtime friend and colleague. A reception starts at 10 a.m. with book sales, signing and bidding for the Invitational Fine Art Auction silent auction, which will be donated by dozens of acclaimed artists and local Dallas notables. The luncheon begins at 12 noon.

WFAA Channel 8 anchor, Ron Corning, serves as emcee and moderates the conversation with Stewart and Sharkey. 

Hopkins said, “Martha Stewart has brought into millions of American homes a respect for artistry. She has inspired us to seek artistry in our everyday life—menu planning, entertaining, decorating for special days, cooking for special occasions and every day, table top design—among countless other lessons on living graciously and artfully. She has written 90 books on these subjects, so we can follow her lead. Her latest book extends her artistry into horticulture and arranging flowers. We are thrilled that she has chosen the Arboretum to announce this book on her passion for growing flowers and engaging the best of design in gardens and flower arrangements. As lovers of the Dallas Arboretum, we share that passion.”

According to Penguin Random House: “Martha Stewart’s lifelong love of flowers began at a young age, as she dug in and planted alongside her father in their family garden, growing healthy, beautiful blooms, every year. The indispensable lessons she learned then–and those she has since picked up from master gardeners–form the best practices she applies to her voluminous flower gardens today. This lifetime of wisdom, compiled in Martha’s Flowers, forms a must-have handbook for flower gardeners and enthusiasts of all skill levels.”

According to Martha from her book: “At present my biggest garden project is Cantitoe Farm, my 150-acre property in Katonah, about fifty miles north of New York City…I have planted masses of my favorite kinds of flowers: a giant bed of pink-colored peonies; a very large perennial garden filled with all of my favorite lilies, poppies, and irises, among hundreds of others; two long gardens filled with many kinds of lilac shrubs; and borders of hydrangeas, Japanese maple trees, clematis, shade plants, and tulip beds…The bouquets and arrangements in this book resulted from our [Kevin Sharkey’s and my] close planning and envisioning—and luck—in growing spectacular blooms that combine well with one another, or with foliage, to bedazzle a room or call one’s eyes to attention.”

Tables are $3,000, $5,000 and $10,000. Tickets are $500 and $1,000. Sponsorships are also available. For more information, contact Missy Whisler at mwhisler@dallasarboretum.org or 214.515.6688. Visit dallasarboretum.org for more details.

The Great Contributor to Art Award was designed and donated by Gary Lee Price, whose Great Contributors exhibition at the Dallas Arboretum in 2016 was the inspiration for the award’s name.  Craig Hall, entrepreneur, businessman and lifelong art collector, received the inaugural Great Contributor to Art award in 2017.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens 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. The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for children 3-12 and free for Arboretum members and children two and under. On-site parking is $15 or $9, if purchased in advance online. 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.  

 

Excerpted from Martha's Flowers by Martha Stewart and Kevin Sharkey. Copyright © 2018 by Martha Stewart with Kevin Sharkey. All rights reserved.

 

Gravatar
Pin on Pinterest
Shelton Hopkins, Kaki Hopkins, J. Mark Wolf

An elegant Artscape kickoff reception was held on March 13 at a private Highland Park residence.  Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden Artscape Chair Kaki Hopkins gave some exciting updates about this year’s Artscape taking place April 28-29 where 96 professional artists from around the country will showcase their artwork in the garden. A distinguished jury of art professionals selected these artists from a competitive group of a record-breaking number of applicants.

 

Other Artscape happenings include Galleries at the DeGolyer with local top galleries showcasing and selling their paintings and sculpture (donating 20% of their sales to the Arboretum); a University Zone with regional universities showing and selling their art; Dallas County Community College District providing art demonstrations; continual live musical entertainment on stage with radio and TV personalities serving as emcees; returning and new food concessions and wine and beer flights and packaged food for sale.

 

“It’s the perfect place to spend the weekend strolling through the gardens and shopping for artwork from these artists who are among the best in their fields of painting, drawing, sculpture, woodwork, jewelry making, textiles and more,” said Hopkins.

 

Admission is free for paid garden guests. Visit dallasarboretum.org for more details.

Gravatar
Pin on Pinterest
Vaux-le-Vicomte

On March 21 at 11 a.m. at Rosine Hall, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden invites the community to hear Alexandre de Vogüé speak about his family’s 17th century chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte, particularly the pioneering efforts of André Le Nôtre in designing its famous gardens. de Vogüé and his brothers, Jean-Charles de Vogüé and Ascanio de Vogüé, who now manage their ancestral estate, located just outside Paris, France, have also written a book, A Day at Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, which will be available for purchase and signing after the speech. The talk is free to paid garden guests, although reservations are encouraged by contacting Mayra Salazar at 214-515-6677 or via email at msalazar@dallasarboretum.org.

 

Alexandre de Vogüé will give insight into the fascinating history of the estate as well as the modern day challenges involved in managing the largest private property in France, which is also listed as a historic monument. Together with his brothers, the fifth generation to own the family estate, he oversees an ongoing and ambitious restoration program, balancing attention to historic preservation and cultural heritage.

 

Vaux-le-Vicomte’s history began in 1641 when Finance Minister Nicolas Fouquet bought the estate and engaged three of the most famous artists of Grand Siècle: architect Louis Le Vau, painter Charles de Brun and landscape designer André Le Nôtre to transform it into a magnificent residence. The estate soon became the model that inspired Europe for more than a century, impressing even Louis XIV who engaged the same artists to build the château de Versailles. In 1875, a wealthy French industrialist named Alfred Sommier purchased the estate in an auction and undertook renovations to restore it. In 1968, Patrice de Vogüé, Sommier’s great grandson, opened the château to the public to raise funds to preserve the property. Now Patrice’s sons are continuing to preserve the splendor of Vaux-le-Vicomte.

 

A significant feature of the estate is the illustrious garden designed by Le Nôtre. Perhaps the leading landscape designer of all time, Le Nôtre’s work includes Versailles, Chantilly and the Tuileries.

 

Mary Brinegar, Dallas Arboretum president and CEO, said, “We are fortunate to have one of the world's most significant estate owners speak with us, and we invite the public to join us. Some feel the garden design of Vaux-le-Vicomte may be among Le Nôtre’s best. We will hear how this landscape architect’s classic work is evidenced today at the de Vogue family’s lovely château."

 

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218.   The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for children 3-12 and free for Arboretum members and children two and under. 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 dallasarboretum.org.

 

                                             

Gravatar
Pin on Pinterest
Vegetables photo credit: Dallas Arboretum

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden announces that the Founders Garden Club of Dallas will present a series of workshops at the garden, with the first one being “Everything You Wanted to Know About Vegetable Gardening” on Saturday, March 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Rosine Hall. This session is free to those with paid garden admission.

 

Founders Garden Club of Dallas, a Garden Club of America member, is sponsoring this day to help garden guests learn the essentials of planning, preparation, planting, growing and harvesting fresh vegetables – both in a garden plot or containers. 

 

Current club President Barbara Hunt Crow said, “With spring upon us, people become inspired to garden and grow. One goal of Founders is to be able to sponsor informative workshops, and the Dallas Arboretum is the perfect partner to help make it happen.”

 

Dallas Arboretum’s Vice President of Horticulture Jenny Wegley, one of the featured speakers for the workshop, will provide information on:

  • Preparation of the garden space
  • Vegetable selection
  • Seeding or planting
  • Plant needs
  • Keeping produce insect- and disease-free
  • Harvesting.

 

After guests attend this informative workshop, they can tour the Dallas Arboretum’s latest garden, A Tasteful Place, a new 3.5-acre, $12 million edible display garden that showcases the best gardening practices with fruit, herbs and vegetables. The Potager Gardens, which translate as an ornamental kitchen garden, are a signature element of the development with in-season vegetables, herbs and flowers, planted ornamentally and interspersed with flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial insects.  Of the four potagers, one is named for the late Marilyn R. Corrigan and the other for her daughter, Catherine A. Corrigan, a Founders Garden Club member.

 

For more information on the March 10th event, contact Mayra Salazar at 214-515-6677 or via email at msalazar@dallasarboretum.org

 

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens 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. The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for children 3-12 and free for Arboretum members and children two and under. On-site parking is $15 or $9, if purchased in advance online. 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.  

 

 

Gravatar
Pin on Pinterest
Dallas Arboretum photo credit: Dallas Arboretum

With freezing weather approaching, it is important to take precautions to ensure your plants are protected from extreme weather conditions.  Following a few simple steps prescribed by Dave Forehand, Dallas Arboretum vice president of gardens, will enable your plants to survive the sometimes-harsh North Texas cold spells. 

Water plants before freeze:

First, water plants before a freeze, particularly the plant root zone. Water acts like a blanket insulating the roots. This makes the plant stronger against a freeze. When plant cells are full of water, they are less likely to be subject to frost damage. If possible, water a day or two before a freeze and make sure to water the entire root zone of the plant. This is especially important in newly planted trees and shrubs. Try watering early in the day so plants have time to absorb water before a freeze. If at all possible, avoid watering the foliage. If you have an irrigation system, hand watering might be the best option for certain locations. Keeping water off the foliage prevents the formation of ice on leaf material which can cause breaks and more damage.

Cover cold sensitive plants:

Cover them with blankets, sheets or towels. Do not use plastic because it is not breathable and will freeze to the plants causing damage. When daytime temperatures rise above freezing, it is important to remove the cover because, if left under cover all day, temperatures under the blankets can get too warm, damaging the plants and waking them from dormancy. 

If possible, use frost cloth:

Frost cloth acts as a blanket and helps trap heat. Make sure that you secure the cloth entirely around the plant and tighten to the soil using fabric pins or bricks (anything that will hold it down firmly will work). Frost cloth is made from a product that “breathes,” and this cloth helps against burn caused by other materials. Purchase frost cloth months in advance, if possible. When the threat of a freeze is coming, frost cloth sells out quickly. Do not use frost cloth when there is a chance of snow. Otherwise, it will cause more damage breaking plants from the weight of the snow.

Take care of plants constantly:

The healthier your plants are, the more prone they are to handle stress. Proper water and maintenance throughout the growing season will help in the winter months. It is also important to select the right plant for your area.  Check to make sure that the plant material you select is appropriate for your location. Check out USDA plant hardiness zone map to see what zone you live in. This information will help you purchase the best plant material for your zone.

Move plants inside, especially with high winds:

When high winds are a threat, it is a good idea to move potted plants into a shed or garage. Although plants don’t feel wind-chill, cold winds quickly dry them out.  Most plants can survive upper 30-degree temperatures easily in a shed or garage because these areas usually don’t drop below freezing until severe weather in February. 

For more plant tips, visit www.dallasarboretum.org.

Gravatar
Pin on Pinterest
Dallas Arboretum The 12 Days of Christmas at the Dallas Arboretum features a dozen gazebos that resemble larger-than-life glass encased music boxes filled with whimsical animals and mannequins.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden welcomed its millionth visitor for the year over the Thanksgiving holiday, and it’s the second year in a row that the garden has reached more than a million visitors. In 2016, the Arboretum’s millionth visitor came in early December, so it achieved the mark even earlier this year. Total 2016 attendance was 1,095,051. The Dallas Arboretum has had visitors from all 50 states and more than 90 countries.

 

Dallas Arboretum Board Chairman J. Mark Wolf said, “We want to thank our more than 39,000 members and donors for supporting us, along with 2,000 volunteers who have helped our garden grow and reach a million visitors. Our popular garden festivals, Dallas Blooms and Autumn at the Arboretum, are fantastic times to experience the outdoors each spring with half a million spring-blooming bulbs, and each autumn with 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. ZimSculpt, an international sculpture exhibition, attracted more than 267,000 guests in the spring and summer months to watch hand-carved sculptures being made and to meet two of the Zimbabwean sculptors. Finally, The 12 Days of Christmas exhibition, which just opened this month, has brought many people during the day and more in the evenings with half a million lights illuminating the garden.”

 

Named by Southern Living as one of “The South's Best Holiday Experiences,” The 12 Days of Christmas exhibit features 12 elaborate, 25-foot-tall Victorian gazebos filled with the charming costumed characters, whimsical animals and winter scenes made famous by the beloved Christmas carol. The gazebos are encased in glass and extravagantly decorated on all sides to provide a dramatic, three-dimensional experience that adds to its "music box" quality.

 

Holiday at the Arboretum, presented by Reliant, includes The 12 Days of Christmas, sponsored by Amegy Bank of Texas, along with “The Nutcracker Suite,” a new exhibition in the historic DeGolyer House. This collection includes more than 800 nutcrackers on display in various rooms, which are lavishly decorated to resemble scenes from the ballet. The figurines are from two private collections: Rosemary Thornton Brinegar and the Himert Family Collection. The exhibition, sponsored by Amegy Bank of Texas, runs now through January 7.

 

The 12 Days of Christmas is open daily and runs through January 7, 2018. The 12 Days of Christmas at night exhibit is open every Wednesday through Sunday and other select evenings, and runs through December 30. For more information on Holiday at the Arboretum events and exhibitions, check the website at www.dallasarboretum.org or the Arboretum’s social media.

 

Since the Dallas Arboretum opened to the public in 1984, the 66-acre garden has received many accolades from publications including Architectural Digest, USA Today, Fodor's Travel, Trip Advisor, The Travel Channel and many others. The Arboretum includes many formal and informal garden spaces, world-recognized trial gardens, a concert lawn, picnic areas, food service areas, a gift shop, orientation theater, classrooms and the historic DeGolyer House. In 2013, the eight-acre scientific and interactive Rory Meyer's Children Adventure Garden opened. In 2014, the Arboretum opened a 1,150-space parking garage, thereby doubling the amount of parking spaces. In 2017, the garden debuted A Tasteful Place, a 3.5-acre edible display vegetable, fruit and herb garden, along with a pavilion, lagoon and views of downtown Dallas’ iconic skyline.

 

# # #

Gravatar
Pin on Pinterest
Growing Friends Hosts: Justin and Molly Cox, Blake and Catherine Woodall, Taylor and Richmond Collinsworth

A Tasteful Place, Dallas Arboretum’s newest year-round food destination, was the perfect foodie hot spot for the "Four Chefs Under Forty" on October 18. The evening served as the launch event for Growing Friends, a new membership level at the Dallas Arboretum for those 21 to 40 years old. Hosts Taylor and Richard Collinsworth, Molly and Justin Cox, Kari and Troy Kloewer and Catherine and Blake Woodall invited 200 of their friends and colleagues to be some of the first to party at A Tasteful Place, a 3.5-acre garden with a lagoon, pavilion and beautiful views of Dallas’ skyline, while listening to the band, the Culdesac Kids.

Well dressed guests walked the pathways of A Tasteful Place to see what was growing in the new gardens, all while sampling the delectable delights, generously prepared by the celebrity chefs. Chef Uno Immanivong of Chino Chinatown served a poke daikon taco. Chef Daniel Pittman of LUCK at Trinity Groves served a house pastrami slider with pickled beets and candied jalapenos. Chef Anastacia Quinones of Oddfellows served farro risotto with braised beef short rib and arugula, and Chef Andrea Shackelford of Harvest Seasonal Kitchen served nduja with yogurt and a crispy artichoke chip.

“I am so thankful for the Dallas Arboretum and to be able to be involved with a great organization. For those who are interested in helping to maintain and preserve this treasure in Dallas, please join Growing Friends,” said Taylor Collinsworth, co-host for Four Chefs Under Forty.

For more information about Growing Friends, visit http://www.dallasarboretum.org/support-volunteer/levels-benefits.

Gravatar
Pin on Pinterest
Galapago

For most teachers, learning doesn’t stop in the summer. In fact, the Dallas Arboretum Education Department hosts professional training for 500 teachers annually, and much of that training takes place in the summer months.  This summer, two members of the Arboretum's education team also had the opportunity of a lifetime to expand their own knowledge, as well as to help educators in one of the world's most unique natural environments, the Galapagos Islands. 

 

Allyson Marbut, Dallas Arboretum vice president of education, said, “The Arboretum’s Education Department provides high quality, standards-aligned professional development for teachers with a focus on life and earth science, particularly in the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden where we are a Certified Monarch Waystation, a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat, and a Texas Parks & Wildlife Certified Texas Aquatic Science field site. The eight-acre garden’s mission is to get children and adults excited about nature and science as they learn through engaging, hands-on activities, most of which are held outdoors.”

 

The Arboretum has teachers who have a combined 120 years of experience. They teach more than 110,000 children who attend field trips, camps and other educational classes annually in the garden or offsite at schools.

 

Earlier this summer for the first time, Dallas Arboretum Education’s Dustin Miller, director of education, and Marisol Rodriguez, bilingual specialist, were invited to help train 125 teachers in the Galapagos Islands in the sciences using the area’s abundant natural environment as a learning lab, with a substantial focus on resource conservation. They joined five additional professors and graduate students from Southern Methodist University, Stanford University, North Carolina State University and Oregon State University. In coordination with other instructors, the team led a five-day workshop for 125 elementary, middle school and secondary science teachers from two of the Galapagos Islands.

 

In open air classrooms, surrounded by the natural environment, Galapagos teachers received in-depth professional development in content knowledge, how to teach lessons (pedagogy) and actual experiment time showing them how to perform the lessons. The teachers capped off the week by presenting a new lesson plan that they would be able to implement in their classroom upon returning to their schools. In total, they received 50 hours of professional development, largely funded through the Galapagos Conservancy, which partnered with the Ministry of Education of Ecuador.

 

Miller said, “Because of the distance from the mainland, Galapagos teachers do not often have access to professional development, so this public/private partnership provides high quality training for teachers that the government could not easily afford. This partnership also serves as a model for how to train teachers in hard to reach places.”

 

Diego Román, Ph.D., assistant professor and Dara Rossi, Ph.D., clinical associate professor, both in the Department of Teaching and Learning at the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University, were part of the teaching team. They had originally met the Dallas Arboretum Education team when the professors first started serving as members of the Arboretum's Education and Research Committee. This committee advised on planning, developing, building and programming of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, which opened in 2013, and continues to collaborate in support of Arboretum education efforts.

 

Dr. Rossi said, “SMU has been exploring ways to partner with the informal science community, and this was a great way to showcase the work the Dallas Arboretum does, such as science teacher training, workshops and professional development.” She added, “Traditional teacher-led education is prevalent in the Galapagos, so we work with them to create lessons that can be run by students and are also active and engaging.”

 

When it came to teaching scientific lessons, both Dallas Arboretum team members were at an advantage because they could teach in Spanish.

 

Dr. Román added, “Marisol’s knowledge of early childhood and bilingual education and Dustin’s science knowledge were an asset to training these teachers.”

 

The team taught lessons based on matter and energy content tied into conservation, an important aspect of the Galapagos Islands with a population of 20,000 people and more than two million visitors annually. Some examples:

 

Lightbox: Educators explored how different materials refract light, learned about solar light, and used this knowledge to create models using solar light.

 

Forms of energy: Teachers utilized energy stations (electrical/light, mechanical, sound, wind, chemical, solar and alternative energy small cars that are powered with saltwater) to explore and identify energy forms and sources in nature.

 

Matter lesson: Teachers made Oobleck, a non-Newtonian fluid, which acts like a liquid when being poured, but like a solid when a force is acting on it.

 

Transfer of heat: Teachers explored several heat transfer stations to understand conduction, convection and radiation, and the exercise culminated in the construction of updraft towers.

 

Straw rockets: Using straw rockets, teachers conducted scientific experiments by varying both the trajectory angle and the amount of energy used to launch these rockets.

 

Zip line airplanes: Educators built and raced model airplanes, while exploring variables and comparing Galapagos bird appendages with early plane design.

 

Eggdrop: Teachers applied concepts of momentum, impulse, force and energy using an egg, a toilet paper roll, a pizza pan, a cup and a broom.

 

Dr. Román said, “Teachers in the Galapagos do not have access to as many materials as we do in the U.S., so we adopted lessons that could take advantage of their environment and best leverage the resources they have at hand. For example, we used many recycled items for our experiments.”

 

The team provided the teachers with lessons that are easily replicable, along with the materials and supplies they would need for their students to study that particular concept.

 

What did the team learn? Miller said, “Teachers everywhere have the same struggles. They may not have the content knowledge or the right supplies to teach, and they may lack the time to fully teach difficult-to-understand concepts. Their students aren’t interested in learning science only from a book, so we need to make the concepts engaging and practical.”

 

Dr. Rossi added, “Research shows that it takes hours to change teachers’ thinking and beliefs before they will adapt their practices and how they teach. As we’ve continued to work with these educators, we have already started to see significant changes in their practice and a renewed excitement for teaching.”

 

The Dallas Arboretum hopes to return to the Galapagos, or another country, to train even more teachers in the future, in addition to the ones they train locally.