Summer Institute

The Arnold Arboretum Summer Institute

An Opportunity for Educators

examining ferns

Teachers examine fern structures.

The Arnold Arboretum offers a 4-day institute each summer intended for all educators of grades 3 through High School. 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. Check back in coming months for more information on the 2019 Summer Institute.

Goals of the Institute

1.  To give teachers needed knowledge about plants 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 Harvard professors and Arboretum staff.
  • 28 PDPs for 4 day attendance.
  • For BPS teachers:  Bus transportation for a self-guided field trip to the Arboretum during the following school year. Available to the first 20 educators who apply and attend the institute.
  •  Teachers from demographics similar to Boston Public School students will be considered for a bus benefit.
  • 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.