Mission: Advancing the Conservation, Study, and Cultivation of the Flora of Asia
Results: Quarryhill is one of the pre-eminent Asian botanical gardens globally, featuring one of the largest collections of documented, wild-collected Asian plants in the world. Many of those plants are threatened by the rapid industrialization taking place in their native habitats. Quarryhill has been recognized as a unique repository for wild origin plants, protecting them both within the garden, and by sharing seed and specimens with research institutions around the world. Quarryhill is in its third year of a very popular education program that reaches out to Sonoma County elementary students, teaching them about plants and conservation in concert with state curriculum requirements.
Two years ago I interviewed local teachers, and docents and program directors from several other botanical gardens in the bay area. From that and State-published curriculum content standards myself and another board member, Dr Peter Fritsch designed a teaching curriculum for 4th and 5th grade elementary students.
Quarryhill staff have taken the program over to continue and expand it--we are now in our third season, hosting at least one class per week, amounting to several hundred per season, and the kids uniformly are delighted by their teaching tour of the garden. Teachers frequently report that it's the best, or among the best, field trips they've ever taken.