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2016 Education Symposium

 

Public Gardens, Public Engagement: from Research to Action

February 22-24, 2016

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Every two years, the American Public Garden Association Education Symposium offers a unique opportunity to learn from and interact with fellow educators from gardens across the country.  Hear inspiring speakers, see beautiful gardens, network with peers, learn about timely research, and gain practical skills to improve your education programs.  All of this will be staged within three prominent Seattle, Washington area public gardens.

Join us on a three-day exploration of the motivations, behaviors and cultural contexts that create meaningful visitor engagement and learning in public gardens. Attendees will discover new approaches to audience research, program design and planning that support visitor interaction with gardens, collections, the environment and with one another.

 

What's Happening at the Symposium?  

 

MONDAY:  

SESSION 1: AUDIENCE RESEARCH & EVALUATION 101

Location: University of Washington Botanic Garden Center for Urban Horticulture, NW Horticultural Society Hall

Audience and program evaluation are essential but many do not know how to approach them without the help of a consultant. Dr. Jessica Luke shares a variety of approaches to audience research and program evaluation will be discussed. We will learn about when, why, and how to deploy various types of audience research and program evaluation to improve educational programming in our public gardens.

Presenter: J. Luke Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Museology Graduate Program, University of Washington
 

WASHINGTON PARK ARBORETUM WINTER GARDEN TOUR

Location: University of Washington Botanic Garden Washington Park Arboretum

Two guided tour options will start at the Graham Visitors Center: the Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden or the Fiddleheads Forest School. The Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden features a central lawn encircled by tall cedars and firs and a large assortment of smaller trees, shrubs and perennials. This garden is a real treat from late November through the end of March, when much of the rest of the park is quiet and subdued. Fiddleheads Forest School is an entirely outdoor, nature-based preschool where the premise for day-to-day activities is play and exploration. As children engage with the world around them and inquire about it, Fiddleheads instructors supplement that exploration with curriculum to further engage their curiosity.
 

OPENING RECEPTION: UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON BOTANIC GARDEN

Location: University of Washington Botanic Garden: Center for Urban Horticulture – Northwest Horticultural Society

The University of Washington Botanic Gardens in Seattle, Washington, encompasses two sites: the Washington Park Arboretum on the south side of Union Bay and the Center for Urban Horticulture on the north side. The 230-acre Arboretum includes a vibrant collection of more than 20,000 living plants from around the world and also offers opportunities to explore woods, wetlands, and take in exceptional views. The Center for Urban Horticulture includes demonstration gardens and natural areas, and also houses the Elisabeth C. Miller Horticultural Library, Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium, and the Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program. Both sites offer excellent opportunities for exercise, exploration, and wildlife viewing.

 

TUESDAY: 

EVENT: KEYNOTE ADDRESS WITH JOHN H. FALK, PH.D.

Understanding why people visit gardens (why this should matter to educators)

Location: Bellevue Botanical Garden, Aaron Education Center

Typically, understanding why the public might be motivated to visit a public garden, or not, has been something the marketing department worried about.  After all, the garden educator’s job is to make sure that those who do visit have a great experience, one that is educational and enjoyable and results in longterm meaning making.  In this presentation Dr. John H. Falk will explore why it is essential for educators to know why people are visiting their institution.  Using the lens of self-related visit motivations, Falk will offer a “visitor’s eye view” of the public garden experience; one that suggests that what actually happens in the garden (and afterwards as well), is strongly influenced by events that precede the visit.

John H. Falk, Ph.D. is a leading figure in free-choice learning, museum research, and science education in the United States.  He is Sea Grant Professor of Free-Choice Learning at Oregon State University and Director of the Institute of Learning Innovation, and was the founding Director of the Oregon State University Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning. 

With a joint doctorate in Biology and Education from the University of California, Berkeley, his years of experience in the museum world include 14 years at the Smithsonian Institution.  Dr. Falk’s extensive writings range from scholarly journals to professional books, from the classic Learning from Museums: Visitor Experiences and the Making of Meaning with Lynn Dierking to the recent Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience.
 

SESSION 2: HOW DO I LEARN IN THE GARDEN?

Location: Bellevue Botanical Garden, Aaron Education Center

Grow your teaching skills with neuroscience-based strategies! We will cultivate your memory of biology with hands-on activities about neurons and the brain. We will uproot some common beliefs or “neuromyths” - such as multiple intelligences - that have been shown to have no scientific basis, and expose a variety of teaching strategies, “Proven Winners,” grounded in research and shown to be effective at improving learning and memory. We will reveal lifestyle choices that can affect the hardiness of learning. Examining real human brains will be a real thriller! You will leave with a harvest of references and readings to keep your teaching fruitful and extend your learning in all four seasons.

Presenters: S.Cunningham, Ph.D., and J. Williamson, M.A.
 

NATURE CONNECTIONS IDEA ROUNDTABLE

Location: Bellevue Botanical Garden, Aaron Education Center

Connect with your peers and guests Lynne C. Manzo and Kathleen Wolf over a boxed lunch. Each table will include discussion prompts related to the post-lunch session. 
 

SESSION 3: RESEARCH ABOUT NATURE CONNECTIONS: BUILDING LASTING VISITOR RELATIONSHIPS

Location: Bellevue Botanical Garden, Aaron Education Center

Associate professor Lynne C. Manzo, Ph.D., and research scientist Kathleen Wolf, Ph.D., will share insights from the field of environmental psychology—the study of people and their physical surroundings. Their combined 40 years of research, can deepen our understanding of our visitors, help inform how to enhance their experiences in public gardens, and offer ideas for encouraging new visitors. Dr. Wolf will discuss her work concerning the health benefits of nature and how these apply to the public garden setting. Dr. Manzo will share her work on place attachment—the emotional attachment people have to places—and how this can foster visitorship and stewardship. The speakers’ exploration of visitor motivations can help in setting and managing expectations for all users’ mutual enjoyment and learning. 

Presenters: L. C. Manzo Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Washington; K.Wolf Ph.D., Research Social Scientist, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington
 

EXPLORE BELLEVUE BOTANICAL GARDEN

Location: Bellevue Botanical Garden

Opened in 1992, the Bellevue Botanical Garden showcases plants that thrive in the Pacific Northwest. The demonstration of good garden design and horticulture techniques inspires visitors to create their own beautiful, healthy gardens. The 53-acre Garden provides a place of beauty, serenity and learning for 300,000 visitors each year. The City of Bellevue, the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society, and eight other horticultural organizations work together to keep the Garden beautifully maintained, share horticultural expertise, offer educational programs and promote the Garden to the community. Educational programs at the Bellevue Botanical Garden include informal learning opportunities through docent-guided tours; traditional interpretive signage; and web-based information on demand through interactive signs and plant bed markers.   Formal learning opportunities include the Living Lab program for youth, workshops and classes for adults, and internships for college students of horticulture and botany.

 

WEDNESDAY: 

EVENT: WELCOME TO BLOEDEL RESERVE

Bloedel Reserve is a public garden and forest reserve situated on Puget Sound in Bainbridge Island, Washington.  Founded by conservation pioneer Prentice Bloedel and his wife Virginia, the Reserve opened to the public in 1988. Bloedel is one of the Northwest’s botanical, cultural and environmental treasures. It is a place to enjoy and learn the values of eclectic design, aesthetics, and ecology as catalysts for the harmonious interaction of people and nature. Bloedel’s 150 acres feature an extraordinary series of gardens, landscapes, trails through second growth native forest, meadows, waterfalls and ponds – all of which sustain abundant wildlife and provide nearly 50,000 annual guests with an inspiring experience of nature.

Presenter: E.Moydell, Executive Director, Bloedel Reserve
 

SESSION 4: MOVING FROM AGE-BASED TO INTEREST-BASED DEMOGRAPHICS

Presenter: E.Ferrin, Brand Marketing Manager, Smithsonian Institution
 

SESSION 5: MAKING A STINK: SUCCESSFUL, INTEGRATED MARKETING FOR AUTHENTIC PROGRAMS

Active marketing teams are most successful when they integrate their efforts with all programs, from events to education and from science to art. Jennifer Riley-Chetwynd examines the four Ps of marketing (Product, Placement, Price and Promotion) and how marketing expertise should be integrated long before you begin promotion. 
 

SESSION 6: TOUR OF THE BLOEDEL RESERVE

The Bloedel Reserve’s 150 acres are a unique blend of natural woodlands and beautifully landscaped gardens, including a Japanese Garden, a Moss Garden, and Reflection Pool, and the Bloedel’s former estate home.

The Reserve’s primary interest is in the relationship between plants and people. There is a generally acknowledged but little understood ability of plants and landscape to evoke a wide variety of deeply felt emotions, ranging from tranquility to exhilaration.

 

Full Symposium Schedule and Registration will be Available December, 2015