Growing Tree Stewards
As a child, Sarah Hitzemann spent her summer studying the texture of trees, counting insect legs under microscopes, and catching butterflies around Lake Marmo at The Morton Arboretum.
Sarah, now a college student, is one of many Summer Science Camp participants who's explored the natural world through hands-on experiments at the Arboretum-discovering that science is not only enjoyable, but also exciting. Sarah's love of nature and her experiences as a participant in Summer Science camp led her to become an assistant at the Arboretum's camp.
The goal of Science Camps is to engage children with nature through hands-on activities that raise their curiosity about science and the natural world. Kids age 5 to 15 participate in the weeklong camps. Topics range from encouraging preschoolers to learn the sound of bird calls and the smell of roses, to teaching seventh and eighth graders how to restore native woodland habitats.
Beyond Summer Science Camps, The Children's Garden inspires children and families with fun, outdoor experiences with trees and nature. The Arboretum also reaches out to young students through its school science program. Students tour the Arboretum, attend field programs, and participate in lab experiences designed to meet Illinois State Learning Standards. The Arboretum actively participates in the Leave No Child Inside campaign, championed by Chicago Wilderness in the Chicago region.
According to Hannah Rennard, Manager of Curriculum and Instruction, The Morton Arboretum's vision is to provide many opportunities for children to develop a love of trees and nature. They can visit The Children's Garden at a young age, participate in Youth and Family classes or Scout Programs, enroll in Summer Science Camp, and as they get older, like Sarah, become Science Camp assistant counselors and instructors. They can participate in stewardship opportunities through the Restoration Stewards school program or volunteer through the Macgyvers program. Our goal is to develop a continuum that nurtures an appreciation for nature into adulthood so that the next generation knows how to care for this Earth.