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Adventure and Discover at Gaffield Children's Garden

The Gaffield Children’s Garden at Matthaei Botanical Gardens is a place for child and family exploration and fun in a natural setting specially designed from a kids’-eye view, a place that invites discovery with all the senses.

Children on a field trip at Matthaei
We offer amazing opportunities for classroom groups to visit Matthaei in person or virtually. Both kinds of field trips are easy to schedule, interactive, and fun. Click here or on the image above to learn more.
black eyed susan with text "native plant sale"

Native plants provide the base of the food chain that supports our regional wildlife populations of insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.  Looking to fill your gardens with these fantastic plants?  Join us at Matthaei Botanical Gardens August 20-21 for our Native Plant Sale!  Details here.

Earth Words (our blog)

Native Plant Gardens Could Bring Local Wildlife Back From the Brink

By adding native plants back to urban landscapes, private landowners can make a difference and help restore native ecosystems. The Great Lakes Gardens are a testament to the impact that native plants have even in a single plot of land. There, myriad butterfly, moth, fly, and bee species flit from flower to flower. “The insects just showed up. We did not introduce any insects,” said Kost. “It really shows you that if you plant it, they will come.”

Bugs with Beth: Monarch butterfly

Habitat loss is the primary threat to Monarchs: clearing their overwintering grounds for agriculture and urban development has left far less shelter for overwintering butterflies. Pesticides and herbicides used in industrial agriculture also claim the lives of Monarchs and their milkweed hosts. Although Monarch populations have fluctuated quite a bit in the past – last year, for example, was a bumper year for Western Monarchs, with many more individuals than usual recorded – the increasing trend of their threats makes it clear that they are at risk.

Bugs with Beth: Milkweed Leaf Beetle & Red Milkweed Beetle

Many of us love exploring Milkweed plants for the chance to find a chubby Monarch caterpillar: a sign that things are working and that the Milkweed is serving its big purpose. Monarch larvae are always an exciting find, but Milkweed plants are host to tons of other fascinating critters. This week’s bug spotlight shines on two such friends: the Milkweed leaf beetle and the Red milkweed beetle. If you’ve spent time examining Milkweed leaves, you may have encountered these two beetles, both of which display an interesting trait reflective of their Milkweed-eating existence.

Viva la Nature Play

MBGNA knows open-ended nature play is recorded in children’s hearts and souls, in their memory and imaginations, to be recalled many times in their lives, to be transformed into creative impulse, scientific exploration, the ability to think broadly and widely, and to carry a desire to help the future of our Earth.