Feb 2nd, 2024

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Introduces Three New Adult Learning Categories

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Adult Learning Program has introduced three new categories of classes and tours: Botany & Ecology; Beekeeping, Birding & Bugs; and Plant Play Make & Take Workshops. With more than 80 offerings for the winter/spring 2024 season, over 30 of which are new, there’s something for everyone. To learn more about these newly expanded areas and their instructors, I spoke with Sarah Wilkinson, Director of Adult Learning and Megan Compton, Adult Learning Coordinator at Lewis Ginter.  

Sarah Wilkinson (left) and Megan Compton (right). Photos by Tom Hennessy.

“We are always looking for opportunities to offer new and compelling classes on topics that inspire deeper connection with nature,” Sarah says. The Adult Learning program is a key part of the Garden’s mission to connect people to plants and inspire exploration and conservation of nature, and the new categories reflect this seamlessly. “Lifelong learning is a passion of mine and I cherish the opportunity as Director of Adult Learning to spark and nurture curiosity about the natural world for over 3,000 members of our community each year.”

Join Birding for Beginners on March 9, 2024.

In creating the new Plant Play: Make & Take Workshops category, Sarah and her team wanted to put live plants front and center and provide opportunities for people to get their hands in the soil while emphasizing the value of play at any age.

Beekeeping, Birding & Bugs creates opportunities for people to engage with some of the many living creatures we share a home with, in the hopes that we all learn to be more accommodating neighbors and conservation partners to our avian and insect friends.

Finally, the long-running Botany category was expanded to include Ecology to nurture curiosity in our community about biodiversity, human-caused impacts to ecosystems and ways we can all be better conservationists in our spheres of influence.

Entomology for Beginners

Fly into a world of insects with Entomology for Beginners.

Megan highlights the Garden’s own Conservatory Horticulturist Jayton Howard and fellow Garden Horticulturist T.J. Oliver as two instructors who bring years of experience and expertise to the Garden. “Several of the classes in the ‘Plant Play: Make & Take Workshops learning category are taught by Jayton,” Megan points out. “In addition to studying horticulture in Australia, Jayton brings to his workshops both the expertise of working in his mother’s flower shop and specializing in tropical growing during his time in Hawaii.” Jayton’s Bonsai for Beginners and Kokedama & Fun with Moss workshops have been very popular. 

Another workshop, Making Magical Terrariums & Micro-Gardens, is co-taught by both T.J. and Jayton. “T.J. manages the Kroger Community Kitchen Garden and has spent the past 13 years focusing on agriculture and apiaries across the United States, including Hawaii, California, New York, Vermont and Virginia,” says Megan. “T.J. and Jayton’s combined expertise will provide students with the ability to create their own mini-gardens to take home, tips on care and an exploration of the fascinating history of terrariums.” 

Plant Play: Make & Take Workshops

The class on Kokedama & Fun with Moss will be held on March 15, 2024.

Adult Learning’s current season runs January through April, with planning already underway for the Spring/Summer (May-August) course catalog. “We hope to add more classes to those categories in future seasons and students have reached out with some intriguing requests,” says Megan.

Sarah also shares her vision for the program going forward, noting, “As we move into the future, our Adult Learning program seeks to provide an increasing variety of diverse and accessible learning opportunities across scientific, horticultural, artistic, spiritual, and cultural disciplines. We hope not only to spark joy at the wonders of nature, but also inspire our community to take increased action to conserve our environment.” 

Stay tuned for updates and don’t miss the latest information by signing up to receive Adult Learning email updates!

Meredith Orne is our seasonal marketing associate at the Garden. She previously held the position of marketing intern. She has a bachelor's degree in Media Arts & Design with a minor in Business. She also loves photography, writing, art, and graphic design and is excited to learn more about the Garden through these channels.

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