Pine Hollow Arboretum: Environmental Education in the Capital District

Arboreta are a unique component of the urban forest, a place where we can see the breadth of beautiful trees and shrubs suited to our climate. They also make excellent outdoor environmental education labs.

For the 7th year, NYSUFC organizational member The Pine Hollow Arboretum in Slingerlands (a suburb of Albany), is providing an opportunity for area students to connect with nature in a meaningful way. The goals of the program are to increase overall environmental literacy and stewardship, to foster an appreciation for biodiversity, and to provide a venue for collaboration across socioeconomic and cultural barriers serving as a step towards community connectivity in the Capital District. 

The 2018 program is called “Experiential Biodiversity Studies for Capital Region Students” and is funded by The Bender Scientific Fund of The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region. Elementary students from Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST), Arbor Hill Elementary and Sheridan Preparatory Academy in Albany, Voorheesville Elementary, and the Bethlehem Children’s School are participating in the program year.

Dogwood in The Pine Hollow Arboretum collection. Photo by Jamie Gervais

The program consists of in-class environmental science lessons, which introduce
students to concepts such as biodiversity, interrelationships, and climate change.
Following the in-class lessons, students enjoy a field trip to the Pine Hollow
Arboretum for hands-on experiential learning that supports learning standards of
the NYS curriculum.

Author and environmental educator Anita Sanchez (

A grant from Stewart’s Shops Holiday Match program has funded a portion of the program that provides environmental educator training to high school students enrolled at the Bethlehem Central High School (BCHS) in Delmar. The 45 BCHS involved in this year’s program attend more than 10 hours of training with seasoned environmental educator and author, Anita Sanchez. Ms. Sanchez instructs the students in environmental science, field techniques, data collection, and elementary education
methodology. At the culmination of their training, the high school students then
lead the field trips of elementary students, providing a high-quality peer-led
experience for the younger students.

Honest Weight Food Co-op has also partnered with the Arboretum to provide a healthy snack for all 500+ students coming to the Arboretum this year on field trips.

About The Pine Hollow Arboretum:
The Pine Hollow Arboretum is a 25-acre member supported, public arboretum whose mission is to preserve, manage and enhance native and introduced species of trees, shrubs and other plants in a natural environment. The integrity and viability of the natural landscape is preserved through ecologically conscious management practices. Such practices provide a fertile and encouraging habitat for the horticultural collection while also supporting an extensive network of forest dependent organisms. The Arboretum provides a diverse, multi-generational audience with an opportunity to learn and appreciate ornamental horticulture and the environment through its extensive collection of the world’s most captivating tree and shrub species.

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