Summer Institute

The Arnold Arboretum Summer Institute

Investigating Ecosystems Through Fieldwork

August 12-16, 2019, 8:30am-2:30pm
Participants will learn and practice fieldwork techniques in order to study of two ecosystems, an urban forest and a meadow. During the institute, teachers will sample the biodiversity of each area, gather abiotic data, examine the interrelationship between organisms, and learn more about decomposition, soil and nutrient cycling. Guest speakers will share their expertise in data gathering, fieldwork, botany, and ecosystems. Participants will spend about half their time outdoors working in teams, with indoor time spent in analysis, reflection and sharing of best practices.

Intended audience: Middle and High School teachers

The Summer Institute is fully subscribed.

Email Ana Maria Caballero or call 617.384.9032 for additional information.

An Opportunity for Educators

examining ferns

Teachers examine fern structures.

The Arnold Arboretum offers a 5-day institute each summer intended for educators. Each summer has a different focus and varying target audience. Preference is given to teachers from the Boston Public Schools (BPS) and we encourage teams of teachers (up to 4 people) from the same school to apply together. Single applications are also accepted. Other specialists are also encouraged to join a team, or apply singly. Read above for more information on the 2019 Summer Institute.

Goals of the Institute

1.  To give teachers needed knowledge about plants and their environments that will enable them to create lessons/units of study aligned with the new Massachusetts Science, Technology, and Engineering Standards.

2.  To expose teachers to using the outdoors in general, and the Arnold Arboretum in particular, as a means for teaching life science standards.

3.  To share resources, teaching ideas, materials, and expertise with teachers so they can feel confident in and comfortable with leading purposeful life science lessons, both indoors and outdoors.


Educator searches for algae and moss.

4.  To develop relationships with teacher teams within BPS schools for continued professional development during the school year, including school visits by Arboretum Educators and facilitated field trips to the Arboretum.

Teacher Benefits

  • Free, high quality professional development taught by professors and Arboretum staff.
  • 30 PDPs for 5 day attendance.
  • For BPS teachers:  Bus transportation for a self-guided field trip to the Arboretum during the following school year.
  • Teachers from demographics similar to Boston Public School students will be considered for the bus benefit.
  • Access to resources and education staff throughout the year.
  • Breakfast, drinks and snacks provided daily.
  • A collegial atmosphere set in a beautiful landscape for timely and relevant learning.

The 2018 Summer Institute, Investigating Ecosystems Through Fieldwork, was held August 13–16. Read about it!

View 2018 Syllabus and Resources.