The Nature Explore Classroom at The Washington Youth Garden at the National Arboretum
The Washington Youth Garden at the National Arboretum is the first certified Nature Explore Classroom in Washington DC.
This amazing site is funded and operated by the Friends of the National Arboretum and charitable contributions from a wide range of supporters.
The classroom, located at the back extension of the gardens, is embedded in the midst of hemlocks and oaks. Perennial plants border the gardens and are accessible to the Nature Explore Classroom adventurers. Containers filled with fragrant herbs are available for touching and smelling.
Laminated signs have been created for each area that include pictures depicting activities of children and brief text for both children and adults describing activity to take place in each area.
Felled oak trees have been used to create the climbing area and to construct benches, building and art tables. Existing trees have been incorporated in the space to provide seasonal color, interest and beauty.
A spring/summer family program called Growing Food, Growing Together is conducted every Saturday. These events engage families in the healthy living practices of gardening, movement and environmental stewardship. Information is shared with Arboretum guests, families of neighboring recreation centers and various home school groups that may be looking for an alternative outdoor experience which exists at the National Arboretum. All of these opportunities reinforce the connection with nature and support the importance of nature education.