- Project Focus: Education
- Year of Award: 2021
- Grant Award: $15,000
Organization Background and Information
Founded in 1944, Tyler Arboretum, located in Delaware County, PA, is one of the oldest public gardens in the United States, featuring 650 protected acres of woodlands, meadows, hiking trails, treehouses, a rare serpentine barren, and a series of botanical collections and exhibits that attract more than 70,000 nature lovers, birders, botanists and outdoor recreationalists locally and internationally as we are open 362 days a year.
Historically, Tyler is renowned for its on-site environmental education programming for children and families. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our on-site programming consisted of summer camps, school field trips, beekeeping and hands-on cooking classes, gardening workshops, merit badge activities for Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, eco-birthday parties, and yoga classes. During the pandemic, we have temporarily suspended all indoor classes to protect our staff, volunteers and guests and continue to encourage self-guided adventures featuring scavenger hunts, guided hiking and bird watching tours (that adhere to mask and social distancing guidelines), and YouTube videos highlighting different sections of the property to visit.
However, as an outdoor venue with plenty of space to accommodate social distancing we have experienced a significant uptick in visitation at our main attraction, Lucille’s Garden. Lucille’s Garden is a 1.25-acre organic fruit, herb, and vegetable demonstration garden that served as the primary food source for our weekly farm-to-table cooking classes with excess produce being donated to the Media Food Bank on a weekly basis. As a result of the pandemic, Tyler has been donating 100% of our produce to the Media Food Bank, which serves up to 200 families per week. We plan to continue sharing our harvest until further notice.
Summary of grant request/proposal
Grant proposal: Grant funds will be used to create a year-round, paid internship opportunity within Lucille’s Garden at Tyler Arboretum. The internship is specifically designed for adult women with disabilities with an interest in horticulture who would like to gain hands-on work experience operating a 1.25-acre organic fruit, herb and vegetable farm, in which 100% of the fresh produce will be donated to the Media Food Bank to assist the hundreds of families each week in Delaware County who are experiencing food insecurity, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tyler Arboretum will be partnering with the job coaches at Tutoring for Adult Learners (TALL) to assist with the recruitment, training and retention of internship candidates during the grant period.