Archived Outdoors

Kids science program expands to Cherokee

Children get an up-close look at some native creatures during Honoring Long Man Day in 2022. N.C. Arboretum photo Children get an up-close look at some native creatures during Honoring Long Man Day in 2022. N.C. Arboretum photo

A Cherokee Preservation Foundation grant awarded in March is allowing the N.C. Arboretum’s ecoEXPLORE program to deliver monthly environmental programming for kids at locations throughout Cherokee.


The new programming launched in June and includes presentations by artisans, storytellers and EBCI Natural Resources staff. The $17,500 grant allows the programs to be offered free of charge. The funding also allows for 10 new ecoEXPLORE “HotSpots” to be activated. These are areas where youth can participate in observational community science by posting photos of plant and animal species they spot in their area, which will then be used by EBCI natural resources professionals to better understand the surrounding environment.

Developed by the arboretum, ecoEXPLORE is a science program for children in kindergarten through eighth grade that combines science exploration with kid-friendly technology to foster a fun learning environment for children, while encouraging them to explore the outdoors and participate in community science. 

This grant-funded programming continues the arboretum’s progress in building educational relationships in Cherokee. Project EXPLORE, a teacher support initiative designed to encourage outdoor learning, has been working alongside educators since 2014, and arboretum educators have more recently been privileged to be involved in the 2022 Honoring Long Man Day, hosting activity stations there and coordinating a tree planting day for youths and adults.

Learn more about ecoEXPLORE at or Project EXPLORE at

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