Students’ Interest in Natural World Blooms With Visit to Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) became a 250-acre classroom for Dana McNamee’s seventh grade science classes as students explored plant life, soil, ecosystems and composting. 

As part of their end-of-year science study, seventh graders have been focusing on botany; the trip to NYBG gave them the opportunity to understand how much human life relies on plant life. Students also learned about growing food by planting their own edible plants to take home.

McNamee, chair of the Science Department, explained that “We covered the importance of photosynthesizers as the base of our food chain in our oceanography unit, and now we are digging in a bit deeper to understand how these plants function and why we need them in our lives.”

For Rory Greenfield ’27, learning how to make compost and “walking in nature” were the highlights of the trip. 

Valentina Valdivia ’27 says that science is a new passion of hers. Learning science in “an interactive manner and actually getting to see, touch, smell and even taste” made the trip a memorable one for her.

“We learned how some plants use the humidity and the fog in the air to help them attain water,”  Valdivia said. “In the edible garden, we were able to look at the process of germination and see how plants are grown and learn how herbs are used in daily life. Finally, we learned about compost and sifted through some dirt that would later be used in the garden. Overall, we learned a lot about plants regarding their uses, functions, adaptations, interesting facts, life cycle, and how to grow them.”

McNamee described the trip as “informative and enlightening,” and is pleased that the famed garden, situated a mere 10 miles from campus, allowed students to better understand the adaptations organisms endure to thrive in far-off environments like the rainforest and desert.