Click here to learn more about birding at Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.
Learn the answers to these questions and many more on a field trip to Matthaei Botanical Gardens, where kids are the explorers through the amazing world of nature. And when the field trips are over we often hear children exclaim, "This was the best day of my whole life!", and "Can we come here again soon?"
Through hands-on exploration of the natural world, students learn about basic plant anatomy, adaptations, and ecology. Teachers and students explore the trails and the Conservatory while strengthening their connection to the Michigan Science Standards.
Small groups led by seasoned docents guide children through one or two hour programs. Choose one of the program themes below or speak with the children's program coordinator, Liz Glynn (734-763-6667) to arrange a program that fits the current classroom unit. Docents lead tours outdoors in all weather, including snow and light rain. Please be sure your students are dressed for weather conditions.
During these sense-based programs children will look, listen, smell, and touch their way to a deeper understanding about a variety of plants. By comparing plant textures and shapes, children explore the exciting diversity of nature and how plants' many different parts help them survive and thrive.
Younger students will investigate the functions of plant structures by examining different roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and seeds. They'll also explore the lifecycle of plants by uncovering the connections between flowers, fruits, and seeds, and by examining plants at different lifecycle stages and come to understand that seedlings often have the same characteristics as the parent plant.
Older children will learn about the processes of photosynthesis, plant reproduction, and adaptations at the appropriate grade level. Children will also observe plants in their natural setting and develop hypotheses about special characteristics and survival strategies. Students consider the different adaptations of plants from around the world, by comparing plants on the trails to plants in the 3 biomes of the Conservatory.
Children learn how the biotic and abiotic elements of the environment make up an ecosystem. We explore the plants that are typically found in 3 different biomes; tropical, temperate and arid. Students explore trophic levels by searching for producers, consumers and decomposers in the field. We introduce the idea of invasive species and how they affect the environment.
Students will experience wetlands, fen, floodplain, and oak openings in the field as well as elements of tropical and arid ecosystems in the Conservatory. They'll learn about invasive species and how infestations can have major impacts on a local ecosystem, and they'll explore the relationships between plants and landscape to form opinions about how the impact of human actions can be beneficial or adverse.