HERSHEY, Pa. – Penn State’s Board of Trustees approved the construction of a Children’s Garden, the latest addition of The Arboretum at Penn State, at its meeting today (March 15) in Hershey, Pa. Created as an interactive site in which children can explore the natural world, the garden was part of the 2002 master plan for the Arboretum, which opened in 2009.
The $3.6 million dollar garden is being developed to help children and adults understand their connections to nature and the environment. The garden has been made possible through two leadership gifts totaling $4.1 million, from Edward R. and Helen S. Hintz and Charles H. “Skip” Smith. This includes the creation of an endowment to maintain the garden and to develop educational programs. The programs, targeted for children ages 3 to 12, will focus on Pennsylvania’s geomorphology and its flora, fauna and culture. The design of the garden is evocative of the ridge-and-valley landscape of central Pennsylvania.
“The Children’s Garden will help foster an appreciation for nature through experiences that may spark a deep and lasting interest in plants and their environment,” said Kim Steiner, director of the Arboretum and professor of forest biology in the College of Agricultural Sciences. “This aspect of the Arboretum has been a priority from the very beginning, and we are truly thankful that Skip, Helen and Ed have made it come to life.”