Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, a non-profit institution serving the mid-Atlantic region from its 80-acre location in Richmond, Virginia, has a three-fold mission: to enlighten and inspire its constituents through its outstanding botanical collections, horticultural displays, and landscape design; to engage constituents with the natural world through interpretation, programs, educational resources, and outreach; and to advocate for sustainability and stewardship of our planet.
The Garden's Education Department is responsible for developing and coordinating a diverse array of educational programs, guest resources, and community alliances that encourage lifelong learning. Programs are designed to engage visitors of all ages—from toddlers to seniors—in active learning, where first-hand experience and observation of the natural world help to build knowledge, expand awareness, and encourage attitudes of stewardship.
The Children’s Garden is home base for year-round pre-school and elementary school guided programs, as well as summer camps, that are developmentally appropriate and support Virginia’s Standards of Learning curricula in science, math, social studies and language arts.
Thanks to the ongoing support of private and corporate patrons, 25-30% of all children attending school group programs receive these services at no charge, and many are from schools receiving federal assistance through Title I Head Start and other social service programs. In addition to organized programs for children in preK-5th grade, the Children's Garden offers for families everything from self-guided scavenger hunts, informal gardening experiences, and natural history encounters to seasonal family festivals, family workshops, performing arts, eco-literacy programs, and environmental education.
Interns serve as seasonal members of the Children’s Garden Team and gain exposure to a variety of professional teaching experiences while working with children and families in an outdoor environment. The primary emphasis of the internship is on the development and facilitation of natural science programs and educational activities that support and encourage a child’s curiosity about the world around them. Internships are a prime opportunity to gain valuable experience working alongside the Garden's professional educators, and projects may include curriculum development, program research and development, and assisting with the service learning program for middle and high school age students.
While the botanically rich, interactive Children’s Garden is home base for this internship, interns have access to the Garden’s extensive living plant and herbarium collections, greenhouses, library, and staff, and can take advantage of Garden adult education programs. Interns typically receive a general orientation to the Garden at the outset of their service, have periodic meetings with their supervisor, routinely visit and learn about all areas of Garden operation, and are expected to keep a journal and make a final project presentation at the conclusion of the internship. The Garden is accustomed to assisting the intern in the design of a project that meets the intern's unique professional and educational goals.