The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum
Photograph of Red-Tailed Hawk taken at Nichols Arboretum by Andreas Kanon
Click here to learn more about birding at Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.
Take a botanical tour of the world in our Conservatory.

school program descriptions

During small group hikes and activities students learn about a variety of subjects such as pollination, basic plant anatomy and reproduction, adaptation & ecology.

Grade levels:

K - 1

Grades K-1
  • Sensory Explorers
What are the basic needs of plants?
How do seeds travel?

During these sense-based programs children look, listen, smell, and touch their way to a deeper understanding of a variety of plants. By comparing plant textures and shapes, children explore the exciting diversity of nature and how plants' many different parts help them survive and thrive.

2 - 3

Grades 2-3
  • All about Plants A
What are the parts of a flower?
How do plants produce fruits?

Students investigate the connection between plant structures and the environment by examining plant parts and functions, flowers and seeds, and adaptation.
A variety of different plants allows exploration of their lifecycle.

4 - 5

Grades 4-5
  • All about Plants B
Why do some plants capture insects?
How do plants moderate temperature and moisture?
How does pollination work?

Students explore the processes of photosynthesis, plant reproduction, and adaptation. A collection of native and exotic plants helps students understand environmental adaptations and reproduction.
  • Ecosystems A
What is an ecosystem?
How are organisms connected within an ecosystem, and how do changes in that ecosystem impact plants and animals?

Students explore of a wide variety of ecosystems outdoors and biomes represented indoors to discover the importance of biodiversity and food webs.

6 - 8

Grades 6-8
  • All About Plants C (grades 6-7)
How do different strategies for survival ensure plant success?
Which plants illustrate unique reproduction strategies?

Students learn about plant reproduction strategies and explore a wide variety of flowers, ferns, trees and other plants with unique adaptations that ensure survival.
  • Ecosystems B (grades 6-8)
What is the difference between a community and a population?
How are plants and animals connected in their native habitat?
How do humans impact the natural world?

Comparison of ecosystems enables students to understand complex relationships between plants and animals.
Exploration of land management for native species addresses human impact on the environment.

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