The Biology Greenhouse Expands Outreach Offerings

Friday, May 16, 2014 - 11:08pm

The Department of Biology Greenhouse at Appalachian State University serves as a teaching and research facility. It also offers ample outreach opportunities to the public, including free daily tours, a monthly class called High Country Gardening, volunteer positions and school programs. Any member of the community is welcome to visit the Greenhouse to learn about trees, shrubs, perennials, North Carolina native wildflowers, or about the selection and care of tropical species of plants.

Jerry Meyer with school group at GreenhouseGreenhouse Manager Jerry Meyer is passionate about outreach. A regular participant of the ASU Science Expo event that takes place every Spring, Jerry is particularly keen to grow the number of K-12 students who visit the Greenhouse. He wants to encourage more schools in the area to take advantage of this wonderful, free resource in our community. He is collaborating with Marta Toran (Biology Department/ Secondary Science Education) to create customized programs for PreK-12 school groups that provide students the opportunity to enjoy the 900 species of plants housed in the conservatory. Lessons and resources available are aligned with state standards and highly interactive. Students are encouraged not just to look at the plants, but also touch, smell and even taste some of them. Programs can be adapted to meet the curriculum needs of each teacher.

A local preschool, First Morning Out, recently visited the Greenhouse. The children learned about the purpose of greenhouses, the needs of plants and the different adaptations they have. Jerry gave the group a tour of the conservatory, helped them make their own "window greenhouses" and showed them several unique plants under the microscope. 


The children also made drawings of interesting plants such as the Ant Plant and Living Stones, and then headed outside for a plant-themed scavenger hunt on the Greenway Trail. It was a great experience for students and teachers alike and everyone particularly enjoyed walking through "the jungle" as the kids called it and trying the home-grown sugar cane.

First Morning Out at Biology Greenhouse

Other exciting happenings at the Biology Greenhouse... The biannual plant sale is currently going on, through Monday May 19th. Everyone is encouraged to stop by and check out the huge  selectionof plants at very low prices. All proceeds go to maintaining the facility. The class "A League of Extraordinary Plants" is coming up on May 31th and is open to the public, more information can be found by following the link. Blowing Rock School's 1st Grade is also due to visit at the end of this month.

More photos of the Biology Greenhouse outreach offerings can be found in the Photo Gallery section here.

Jerry takes a group of young students through the Greenhouse
Students drawing plants with special adaptations
Making the miniture window greenhouses
Students trying the home-grown sugar cane