Partners in Education is a dynamic collaboration between the Morris Arboretum and Title I schools in the Philadelphia region. Begun in 2008, this program is designed to promote, in K-12 grade students, a greater appreciation and understanding of the environment through on-going visits to the Arboretum. Teachers and students are encouraged to think of the Arboretum as an outdoor extension of their classrooms – enriching the curriculum and enhancing students’ environmental consciousness.
W. B. Saul High School
In 2013, through a More Kid in the Woods grant from the USDA Forest Service, Morris Arboretum staff coordinated the Learning-By-Doing Tree Inventory Project, a series of workshops at Saul High School. These workshops focus on teaching students how to conduct tree inventories, and introduce them to forestry scientists. The goal of the program is for students to become confident with the skills they learn so that they may help conduct tree inventories in their own communities.
Mercy Vocational High School
Students from MVHS culinary arts class met with Compton Café chef and owner of Company’s Coming catering, Josh Hunter, for a hands-on experience in a professional kitchen. Together, they cooked up a classic local dish – the Philadelphia cheesesteak, while also learning about proper food handling. Upon completion of the workshop, students enjoyed their meal and were given a guided tour of the Arboretum.
Wissahickon Charter Elementary School
Morris Arboretum Interns developed and implemented lessons at nine Wissahickon Charter School classes between first and sixth grades. Lesson topics included honey and native bees, the history and structure of roses, as well composting and basic plant science.
Pennsylvania School for the Deaf
Morris Arboretum’s USDA Forest Service liaison, Sarah Low, leads bi-monthly walks with PSD sixth and seventh grade students to observe how the Arboretum’s wetland changes throughout the year. During these visits, students study the bark of various trees in winter, observe migratory birds in the spring, and explore a vibrant natural area that is alive with plants and wildlife all year long.
Through the USDA Forest Service’s More Kids in the Woods grant funding, the Morris Arboretum and USDA Forest Service partnership will provide resources to Title I schools with the purpose of connecting students to the outdoors. Through repeated field experiences, students will be able to utilize the Arboretum as an “outdoor laboratory,” where they can study a variety of ecosystems first-hand – all within proximity of the heart of Philadelphia.