Welcome to Learning
in the Tropical Garden
Today in the Virtual Living Lab
#KWVirtualGarden | Pssssst… Hey, parents, teachers and adults. Our Virtual Living Lab is the perfect choice when you need smart, fun and well-planned activities for the children in your lives — with just the right balance between screen time and structured play. Videos, interactive lessons, Species Spotlight, StoryTime and hands-on activities designed by our education team and consistent with state of Florida education standards
Visit The Garden on location
5210 College Road. Key West, FL 33040
Daily: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
About our Garden
Our Garden education programs include on-location and online learning opportunities for adults and students with a focus on Pre-K-12 grade. Our educational programs are offered online and on location. Check our calendar and follow us on social media for up-to-date information
FOR STUDENTS | We are particularly proud of our latest online series — the Virtual Living Lab — that combines original instructional videos, our weekly Species Spotlight and Story Time videos, hands-on activities and interactive projects. The is part of the Google Classroom experience, which our local schools use for digital learning. Learn the history of the Living Lab here.
FOR ADULTS | Adults will enjoy our Speaker Series, special events, yoga classes, native plant sales and self-guided nature walks. Adults may also enjoy becoming one of our Garden Guardians; it’s a great way to learn the best techniques for the Keys and choose the right plants for a strong, native garden.
Plan ahead for our monthly Speakers Series during the winter high season. You’ll find the annual calendar with full details here.
The Garden’s Annual Speaker Series
Interested in learning more about the complex and fascinating environmental world of Key West and the Florida Keys? Then join us the third Saturday of each month December-May for our Speaker Series. Each one-hour workshop begins at 1:00 p.m., in The Nature Chapel. $5 for non-members; free for members. Includes admission to the Garden.
Be sure to come early for the Native Plant Sale! From 9 a.m.-noon, we offer more than 150 species of butterfly- and bird-attracting native, rare and endangered plants propagated and available in the Botanical Garden Nursery. A great way to create your customized Key West garden — and support the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, too.
If you weren’t able to attend our Speakers Series in the Garden, we post our videos so you can watch them at your convenience.
The Living Laboratory
Meet our Education Team
Nicole Lam, education manager
Nicole Lam joined the Botanical Garden Education team in 2020 as the Education Manager shortly after moving to Key West.
Her interest in education began at a young age through teaching Sunday school, swim lessons, tutoring, and art. She has taught students of every age as well as different abilities.
Nicole has a degree in psychology and childhood studies, which has given her the opportunity to combine her passions of helping others and working with children.
As the Education manager, Nicole is looking forward to working outdoors using the beautiful garden as a Living Laboratory to encourage and educate children in fun, creative, and interactive ways.
Josie Mintz Esperance, education assistant
JOSIE MINTZ ESPERANCE joined our team in 2022 as education assistant, stating that "each stage of life and learning brings its own challenges." Josie was in graduate school at the University of Chicago (MA completed and PhD courses in progress) when the pandemic began and she says suddenly "life felt precious and short."
She and her family moved onto their boat on Lake Michigan, then embarked on a boat trip that lasted three months and brought them back to her native South Florida. Josie joined the Garden as soon as she was back "home."
She cares deeply about the environment, has always loved nature and the outdoors and self-describes as a "creative problem solver" who enjoys learning and research.
A recent post from her Instagram account says it all for Josie: "When your morning at work begins with researching scholarly articles on the DNA of early chickens and it is absolutely giving you life!"
As education assistant, she helps to create and teach fun and thought-provoking activities for students of all ages.
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