GATEways Education Programs

Innovative teaching and learning opportunities lie at the heart of the
UC Davis Arboretum GATEways Project (Gardens, Arts and The Environment). The 100-acre Arboretum functions as an outdoor classroom that connects undergraduate students and the broader public in exciting ways. Undergraduate students use what they have learned in their academic courses to create hands-on learning experiences for campus visitors.

Through student-led projects in the Arboretum, visitors gain access to the rich resources of UC Davis, particularly in the area of environmental sciences. The Arboretum is an ideal place to raise awareness and provide tools for environmental sustainability. Students from across the disciplines use visual and performing arts, innovative technologies, and inquiry-based science teaching to engage learners of all ages and educate them about issues facing our environment.

GATEways Education Programs include:

Art/Science Fusion

Students in the Art/Science Fusion Program use visual and performing arts to learn environmental science concepts in the Arboretum and then share their learning with public audiences. When visiting the Arboretum, look for large-scale mosaic and painted murals that vividly illustrate plant and insect lifecycles, ecology, and interrelationships.

Garden Stewardship

Through the Arboretum, Garden Stewardship Interns engage in hands-on learning in the areas of environmental sustainability, plant conservation, and ecological gardening. As the students work in the gardens, they extend their learning to Arboretum visitors, volunteers, and the broader public through informal educational exhibits, plant sales and events, and digital maps and databases.

Arts in the Environment

Undergraduate and graduate students showcase their visual and performing art in the garden. Students enrolled in "Where Here Is: Site-Specific Public Art" taught by UC Davis Art Professor, Robin Hill, create interactive pieces in the Arboretum, learning to research and embrace the aesthetic, environmental and social conditions of the site.

Environmental Leadership

In partnership with the Bonner Leaders Program and the UC Davis Center for Leadership Learning, the Arboretum sponsors student interns across a range of majors who are passionate about environmental leadership. The Arboretum Ambassadors commit for a year-long internship in which they receive academic credit, leadership training, and content expertise in sustainable gardening and conservation. They reach out to the public through educational programs, digital media, tours for junior high and high school students from underserved communities, and community service workdays in the garden. The UC Davis Arboretum staff also teach environmental leadership principles through quarter-long seminars sponsored by the UC Davis Academic Theme Program and the Career Discovery Group Program.

Environmental Education

In partnership with the UC Davis School of Education, the Arboretum sponsors Naturalist Internships in which students lead environmental education programs for elementary school classes from all over the Sacramento region. Interns learn about the local environment, traditional uses of plants, California native plants and best practices in inquiry-based, informal science education. Students passionate about environmental education can also participate in the Arboretum’s family nature programs and educational workshops.