Education volunteers work with Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s Education staff to introduce children of all ages to hands-on, interactive environmental education. Volunteers participate in the Explorer Program, the Discovery Program and the Fairchild Challenge.
Fairchild's original student education program, volunteers guide students in grades K through 5 through Fairchild's 83-acre living museum introducing groups to a variety of science activities including a plant part scavenger hunt, rainforest exploration, and an investigation of native habitats. Students also take a narrated tram tour of Fairchild, participate in a propagation lesson in the outdoor classroom, and make a botanical souvenir to take home.
Volunteers in the Discovery Program introduce students in grades 3-12 to the concepts of biomimicry, how nature can provide innovate solutions to contemporary environmental issues, to butterfly symbiosis and to biomimicry. Students explore Fairchild using GPS technology, maps and compasses as they navigate through the garden to a variety of activity stations manned by volunteers.
Volunteers must be adaptable and patient, enjoy working with children and have an interest in plants. Volunteers also have strong communication skills and are comfortable interacting with students and leading groups on foot outside in many different locations in the garden. Shifts are from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Training required.
Designed for students of diverse interests, abilities, talents and backgrounds, the Fairchild Challenge is an interdisciplinary environmental competition for elementary, middle and high school students. Students become informed, engaged citizens as they earn points for their schools by participating in a wide range of activities including school garden and habitat restoration, environmental debate, green cuisine, and art competitions. Fairchild volunteers participate as judges for environmental competitions. Volunteers also help to staff Challenge events.
Challenge judges often have a particular area of expertise such as science, art, poetry or photography. Judging panels for Challenge competitions are held at Fairchild during the school year from October through May. Panels generally last three hours and are held on both weekdays and weekends.
Challenge event volunteers are comfortable working with students of all ages and are flexible as assignments may vary at each event. Volunteers generally stand and walk outside for a couple of hours.