Teacher/Professional Development

Teachers are invited to experience The Holden Arboretum firsthand. If you have never visited and would like to see what an amazing educational facility we have to teach about plants and the natural environment, we invite you to be our guests. Contact Sharon Graper for a Member for a Day pass and come see what you have been missing!


If you would like to receive our monthly electronic Teacher Tree-Mail and our other mailings make sure we have your current contact information.


 Learn How to Play in Nature

Encouraging and Supporting Nature Play for Young Children

Presented by The Holden Arboretum and Cleveland Botanical Garden

For many of us, outdoor play was a daily part of our childhood. Today that kind of childhood has all but disappeared.

Frequent spontaneous play in “wild” outdoor settings provides perfect support for the entire spectrum of child development needs: physical, social/emotional, creative, intellectual and spiritual. These workshops are for parents, teachers, and informal

educators. Learn about the benefits of outdoor play, how kids interact with their surroundings and how to facilitate and

encourage these activities in your own space or those you visit. Experience activities first hand. Take one session or both to

increase your repertoire of activities to share.

Play in the Garden – Wednesday, Aug. 5 – Botanical Garden

Explore the Hershey Children’s Garden first hand while learning how to play in nature. You will also have the opportunity to experience the summer exhibit “Branch Out” where you will explore five tree house’s that have been designed just for the garden, and focus on nature and play. Discover your own inner child as we discover ways to play.


Step Up to Quality approval is pending.


9:30 am – noon

$20 members, $35 nonmembers per session


Register online or contact Amanda or Jordan at 216.721.1600 ext. 100.


Play on Land – Wednesday, Sept. 30 - the Arboretum

Explore the forests, meadows and prairies of the arboretum first hand while learning to play in nature. You will also have the opportunity to experience the new Murch Canopy Walk with the Kalberer Family Emergent Tower. The tower is 120 above the ground allowing guests to emerge above the tree tops where Lake Erie is visible on a clear day. The Murch Canopy walk is a series of three bridges that run through the tree tops above the stream. It is a unique perspective you won’t want to miss.


Step Up to Quality approval is pending.


9:30 am – noon

$20 members, $35 nonmembers per session


Register online contact the registrar at 440.602.3833.


Print a flyer for more information.



Integrating Outdoor Science

Into the Early Childhood Classroom


Wednesday, Aug. 26, 6:45 - 8:45pm

This teeny beetle flutters into the hearts of child the first time it lands on their little index finger. Children fall in love with its lore (a sign of good luck) as much as its shiny round little body. Using the Great Explorations in Math and Science guides produced by the Lawrence Hall of Science, explore how science can be brought into your early childhood classroom in an engaging and hands-on manner.


This unit capitalizes on childhood delight with ladybugs to present key science and math concepts to young children, including basic information relating to animal form and ecology. In a series of observational and role-play activities, children learn about ladybug body structure, life cycle, defensive behavior and favorite foods. They absorb the mathematical concepts of counting, symmetry and pattern as they indulge their curiosity about this charming insect. Ways to expand this concept into the natural world and your outdoor space will be introduced and discussed.


Cost: $30, includes curriculum guide


Step up to Quality Approval is pending.




Wednesday, Sept. 30, 6:45 - 8:45pm

What child hasn't run into an ant? Ant Homes Under the Ground brings young children down to ground-level with this ubiquitous insect, introducing them to ant behavior using role-play, cooperative exercises and up-close observation. In mutlilayered activities, students learn about the insects' body structure, "jobs," and homes by observing ants in nature and in an ant farm. They role-play ants following a scent trail and dragging food through a tunnel-like structure.


A large Ant Nest poster, included with the guide, is assembled in stages to highlight ant-colony tunnels, food, social structure, and life cycle as each of these elements is introduced. A culminating cooperative logic game called "Fill the Hill" uses stimulating mathematical and cooperative skills to round up knowledge the children have gained. This unit provides a wealth of life-science learning as well as the natural integration of science and math. Ways to expand this concept into the natural world and your outdoor space will be introduced and discussed.


Cost: $30, includes curriculum guide


Step up to Quality Approval is pending.





Trees Matter Summit

A problem-based learning opportunity for middle and high school students and teachers


Wednesday, Oct. 7, 9:30am – 1:30pm


Join us for the third annual Trees Matter Summit. Schools from local counties are invited to send teams to the Trees Matter Summit for a one-day educational and informational program.


The Holden Arboretum's Trees Matter Summit is designed to engage middle and high school students and teachers in a variety of efforts to increase awareness of the value of trees on their school grounds and in their communities.


Students will hear from experts in the fields of forestry, environmental planning and others, learn about science-based educational resources to document and demonstrate the value of trees, and and gain knowledge that they can take back to their schools to enhance the presence and importance of trees on their school grounds. Learn more.


This is a free event, but pre-registration is required. Space is limited. Contact Sharon Graper by email or by calling 440.602.3843for more information or to register.


Tree Summit Teacher Training and Information Session

Monday, Sept. 14, 4 - 7pm

Come see what the Tree Summit is all about and how it would fit into your curriculum. Learn how i-Tree and other data systems can be used in the classroom to calculate tree benefits and map school grounds. Teachers do not have to be signed up for the Tree Summit to attend. This is the perfect time to get your questions answered about this new middle school and high school program as well as learn some tree science applications for your classroom. Teachers who are signed up for the Summit are encouraged to attend to learn more about the applications for their classroom. Others are welcome to come and learn more about the importance of trees to school grounds. We might even get up on the new Murch Canopy Walk and Kalberer Emergent Tower.


Cost: Free, but pre-registration is required. Dinner will be provided.


Direct questions to Sharon Graper, 440.602.3843.



Using Real Stuff: Ecosystem Inquiry in the Real World


Friday, Oct. 9, 5 - 9pm

Saturday, Oct. 10, 8am – 5 pm

How often do you use real stuff in your science lessons? Learning about the natural world is not as effective if you are not actually manipulating, observing, experimenting and problem solving with the real stuff. It might be a bit messy and unpredictable, but that is what makes it so educationally worthwhile. It will also increase interest and engagement in your students.


Come get a chance to explore the new Murch Canopy Walk with the Kalberer Emergent Tower and as we focus on the science content needed to learn about a forest ecosystem. Abiotic and biotic factors, energy transfer, photosynthesis, food chains, population dynamics and landforms are all part of the puzzle. Learn how to design an inquiry lesson that will interest you and your students, and incorporate many of the life science standards at your grade level. Contact Sharon Graper for more information.



$ 80 payable to The Holden Arboretum

$150 for 1 graduate credit payable to Lake Erie College


Print a flyer for more information.


NEOEA Day 2016: Trees from the Top Down


Exploring the new Murch Canopy Walk

with the Kalberer Emergent Tower

Friday, Oct. 16, 9am - 12pm


Spend the morning taking a journey through and above the trees on two amazing structures at The Holden Arboretum. Be one of the first to experience the Judith and Maynard H. Murch IV Canopy Walk and Kalberer Family Emergent Tower. These two  structures allow visitors to see trees from the top down and the bottom up. The tower is 120 feet tall and on a clear day you can see Lake Erie. After you climb the 202 steps to the top you will have a new appreciation for the magnificence of trees and forests. This is the perfect spot to learn about bird life, insects, photosynthesis, diversity and energy transfer. The Fall colors will be amazing.


The Canopy Walk is just as amazing. The 500-foot-long walk reaches 65 feet above the valley and includes 4 suspension bridges that wind their way through the tops of the trees. Sometimes a new perspective is all is takes to learn something new about the trees and native forests that we take for granted. The sounds, smells and feel are all new and different. This is an experience you will want to share with others.


You will also learn first hand about a new middle school field trip that will be offered in the spring of 2016. Experience some of the activities and see if this might be something to share with your students. Participants will  receive a copy of a book about the cultural and natural importance of trees in our society.


Participants must be able to walk up 202 steps. A fear of heights may be an issue.


Cost: $20 NEOEA members, $30 non members



View Our Online Teacher Resources


The Teacher Treesource page is a new informational site that puts content knowledge, activities, books and web sites at your finger tips. Learn more.


Personalized Professional Development for Schools

The Holden Arboretum has been delivering professional development to teachers in early childhood through high school classrooms for more than 30 years. We specialize in teaching content about the natural world in cooperation with hands-on, engaging activities. If you do not see what you are looking for we can design something to fit your needs. Contact us to discuss the possibilities.


For further information please contact the Education Department at 440.602.3833 or sgraper@holdenarb.org

Professional Development at Cleveland Botanical Garden

Cleveland Botanical Garden The Holden Arboretum and Cleveland Botanical Garden are in the process of integrating. That is great news for teachers and all those who are interested in plants and the natural world. The Botanical Garden offers many teacher professional development opportunities for all age levels. There are workshops on plants and literacy, Scout programs and home school days, just to name just a few.


For more information and complete descriptions contact Rowenna Collins, director of academics at Cleveland Botanical Garden, 216.707.2831.