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1927 Map of the Arboretum

Support Arboretum Young Scientists 

Check out this video to learn more about Arboretum Young Scientists from Director Ned Friedman and staff.

For four decades the Arnold Arboretum has offered exceptional learning programs in the life sciences in our landscape, reaching more than 4,000 students annually in Pre-K through grade 5 in Boston Public Schools. In 2022, we established a new summer program called Arboretum Young Scientists (AYS). 

AYS is a specialized, immersive experience for BPS middle school students. By expanding our reach—and focusing on grade levels that are currently underserved at botanical gardens nationally—we are building a bridge of science learning for students we currently serve in elementary school and high school. By engaging young learners at a critical stage in their academic careers, we hope to cultivate the next generation of scientists, horticulturalists, gardeners, and plant science educators in our community. We need your support to continue this program in 2024. 

AYS is a tailored program of vibrant, hands-on learning grounded in outdoor field studies in the Arboretum landscape. Partnering with select BPS middle schools, the Arboretum recruits rising eighth grade students to participate in the five-week program focused on ecosystems, the heart of life science curriculum at this grade level. Taught by professional educators and assisted by Arboretum scientists and horticulturists, AYS is designed to allow students to work individually and cooperatively as researchers, orienting participants to a range of investigative methods as well as potential careers in scientific research, botanical gardens, and the green industry. Recognizing that 86% of BPS students are persons of color, the program is explicitly designed to be anti-racist and culturally competent. Like all educational programs at the Arnold Arboretum, AYS is completely free of charge and includes transportation to the Arboretum landscape. 

Each year, we evaluate lessons learned to build on our success and ensure AYS achieves its potential to enhance the development and life paths of young middle school students in Boston and to democratize the experience of learning in the natural environment. AYS presents a special opportunity for the Arboretum to play a significant role in community education and change in Boston and beyond. 

Read more about the successes of the first year of AYS in Public Garden magazine

AYS needs your help!

Donations made now to benefit AYS will support the third year of our program in July 2024. 

We thank the donors who have been part of our success over the first two years: The Cabot Family Charitable Trust, The Devonshire Foundation, Eastern Bank Foundation, Liberty Mutual Foundation, Clinton H. and Wilma T. Shattuck Charitable Trust, Schrafft Charitable Trust, and numerous families and individual donors.  

Click below to visit the Arboretum’s Giving Page. Select “Arboretum Young Scientists/Middle School Science Initiative” from the drop-down menu to direct your donation to AYS. Thank you!