Public gardens are ideal providers of STEM education enrichment for their communities. Our focus is how to create exciting experiences for students of all ages, especially in the outdoor environment. Add an ‘S’ for Sustainability, and we can make powerful connections to nature. How can gardens develop STEMS programs that are engaging and complement existing school curriculum, serve their community, and have life-long impact? 

Following a brief introduction delivered by the moderator, each of our three presenters will give the attendees their perspective on a different age group: elementary, middle, and high school. They will address how public gardens, regardless of size or budget, can develop STEMS programs in their own community, from planning to implementation. In addition, they will discuss how evaluation and ongoing monitoring inform program effectiveness and development. 

A break-out activity will provide ample time for all attendees to share their best ideas in small groups; attendees will receive a compilation of these post-symposium, plus additional resources they can apply to their gardens’ STEMS programming.

Presenters: J. Anderson, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, FL; M. Bryant, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, VA; F. Lavoipierre, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Fort Bragg, CA; E. Johns, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh, PA