By Penny Williams, Communications Volunteer
School Program Leaders are the volunteers who lead elementary school children on 90-minute guided programs around the Garden — and, as of January 2019, around Bloedel Conservatory as well.
The programs are developed by our Education Department, linked to school curriculum, and themed. Each program has its own manual and kit of hands-on activities. In planning their session with a particular class, the School Program Leaders choose just the right mix of activities to bring the program to life that day with that group. Then … they bring it to life!
Have they gathered the children by the Cypress Pond, as part of the Pond Peering program? Next step is to hand out dipping nets, so everybody can learn about invertebrates first-hand. Good fun for the students, and a whole lot of learning as well.
Also a whole lot of preparation, for the 24 or so volunteers. Each year everyone receives refresher training before the season begins, which runs throughout the school year.
In 2018, these volunteers led 91 guided programs, with 2,246 participants. A lot of the student thank you messages say their guided program was the BEST field trip they’ve ever had.
Without the volunteers, none of this would exist.