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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.

We are inspired by the success of our 2022 Arboretum Young Scientists pilot—particularly the positive response of our middle school participants who attended every day of the program last summer and are excited to return in 2023. We learned so much about what works well and what we can do to shepherd AYS to its next stage. Energized by the progress we have made so far, we look forward to the promise of moving the needle on scientific engagement for Boston students on the cusp of high school and in their academic lives beyond. 

Nancy Sableski, Manager of Children’s Education

For nearly four decades, the Arnold Arboretum has provided exceptional life science learning annually to some 2,000 Boston Public Schools elementary students—fun and engaging programming that sparks curiosity and supports science study in the classroom. Building on the longtime success of these programs, we established a new summer program in 2022, Arboretum Young Scientists (AYS), 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.

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 four-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.

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 launched the program in 2022—The Cabot Family Charitable Trust, Schrafft Charitable Trust, Eastern Bank Foundation, Clinton H. and Wilma T. Shattuck Charitable Trust, The Devonshire Foundation, and many families and individuals. We also thank those who are ensuring that the program continues for a second year, including the Liberty Mutual Foundation, Eastern Bank Foundation, and an invaluable group of individual donors. As we approach Year 2, we are evaluating lessons learned in 2022 to build on our success and ensure AYS achieves its potential to address racial justice, enhance the development and life paths of young people of color, and 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.

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!