Over the last five years it has been noted by the education staff at the Gardens that a great disparity exists between the number of students from the Buffalo Public Schools and the number of suburban/private school students who are able to participate in and experience the hands-on learning opportunities at the Gardens.
This disparity is due in large part to a lack of institutional funding for field trips, as well as the implications of 45.7% of BPS students living below the poverty level.
To address this disparity, we have established three programs designed to in essence “level the playing field” for economically disadvantaged youth in the Buffalo Public Schools: Project Empower, targeted to third graders, Plant Pals for second graders, and Exploration Earth, which has been developed for sixth graders.
Your support can help ensure that students in the City of Buffalo are able to take advantage of these wonderful learning opportunities. Our goal is for every second, third and sixth grader in the City of Buffalo to experience programming at the Gardens.
Project Empower teaches students about plant parts, fruits and grains, and encourages them to have an appreciation for the plants around us and how they influence our daily lives. Project Empower also allows students to gain a greater understanding of how plants positively affect the environment and provides a sensory experience unique to the Botanical Gardens.
Plant Pals provides lessons focused on the plants that we eat and good nutritional practices. Second graders experience hands-on lessons taught by trained student interns from local colleges (under the supervision of the director of education), providing the interns with practical teaching experience while in school.
Exploration Earth is a hands-on environmental stewardship program designed for sixth grade students in the Buffalo Public Schools. The goal of the program is to build understanding and increased awareness of local environmental issues as well as demonstrate how to practically reduce non-point source water pollution and storm water runoff.