My name is Ashley Wyland and I am the Education and Events intern at Moore Farms Botanical Garden (MFBG) for the summer of 2016. I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and graduated from Westminster College in May of 2015 with a degree in Environmental Science. I have a lot of interest in youth education and outreach and have had many great opportunities working with/educating children here at MFBG this summer. One of my favorite experiences thus far has been working with the summer camps.
This summer at MFBG, there were 2 summer camps: Garden Detectives (ages 5-7) and Garden Explorers (ages 8-10). Both camps included many fun, educational activities that encouraged the kids to use their problem solving skills as well as their creativity in order to learn new and interesting aspects about nature and the garden. I was able to assist in creating games and activities for the children to do during these camps as well as actually assist in leading the camps and I loved every second of it! I feel as though being a large part of all aspects of the camps has given me really great experience in learning how to work with children. It has also helped me see how the age groups of children differ. It was also really great seeing the hard work Kristen and I put into the camps pay off—the kids really enjoyed all of the activities and they definitely learned a lot. Plus, I had tons of fun getting to know the children and enjoyed watching them have fun while they learned about something I am very passionate about. It is quite fulfilling teaching a child something new and equally as fulfilling seeing how much a child already knows!
One aspect (out of many) of this experience I will most definitely use in my future career is the creation of fun, educational activities. I never realized how fun you can make learning for kids when you can figure out how to create it into a game or an activity. Specifically, in Garden Explorers, we did an Ethnobotany Scavenger Hunt where the kids had to search through the garden, find different clues and learn about what certain plants could be used for. This was a good way for them to learn how we can use plants and why they are important! I really enjoyed making this activity and I loved seeing it put to action with the kids, I even learned a lot also! After the scavenger hunt, the kids learned how to make tea bags with some of the plants we learned about in the garden during the hunt. I thought that was a great take home activity for the kids to do that helped tie together the relationship between plants and people.
I am really enjoying my internship and am excited to continue acquiring more skills that will help me in my future as an educator. Below are some photos from both weeks of camps! Enjoy!
The Garden Explorers Camp during their ethnobotany scavenger hunt!
Running to find the clues in the garden!
Our Garden Detectives (ages 5-7) having fun building bird houses(Pictured above and below).
Thanks for reading!
-Ashley Wyland, 2016 Education and Events Intern