2021 Program Schedule at The Botanic Garden

Our Garden is a place for learning and growing! We're excited to offer options for online learning until we're able to safely gather again. EVENT CALENDAR IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Please return regularly for updates to our 2021 event calendar!

Most of the programs, classes, and events at The Botanic Garden are free for members (though some do have a registration fee). Proceeds from events benefit The Garden in many ways. For example, these funds allow us to continue attracting high caliber presenters! Please plan to offer a donation when you attend a free program, class, or event. You can make a donation online through Eventbrite when you register, or you can bring your donation to the event. Thank you!

Events at The Botanic Garden

In an effort to protect visitors, volunteers and others from the COVID-19 pandemic, The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park is pleased to offer options for virtual events. As soon as we are able to gather again safely, we will do so. In the meantime, please join us for our online events and come enjoy the splendor of The Garden itself. As part of the Historic Barns Park, the outdoor spaces of The Garden (gardens, trails and labyrinth) are open daily for visitors to enjoy, observing social distancing, of course!

General Event Information:

Members of The Botanic Garden receive $10 off the price of tickets. Not a Botanic Garden member yet? Now is a great time to join! For more information or to join, click here.

In an effort to be as ‘green’ as possible, we use Eventbrite E-Tickets option for ticket delivery. This means your reserved tickets will be available to view from your email confirmation or order history. You do not need to print these prior to the event.

Questions? Please email our Program Committee at grow@thebotanicgarden.org.

July 27th (continuing through August 12th) - Jr. Master Gardener Class Series Presented by 4-H

We’re proud to host this year’s series of Junior Master Gardener classes. Presented by 4-H and MSU Extension, these classes engage youth gardeners in hands on group and individual learning activities that promote a love of gardening while developing an appreciation for our environment.

The series includes 6 classes, held for three weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00-11:30 at The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park. Dates include: July 27 & 29, August 3 & 5, August 10 & 12.

For more information, or to register, please contact Susy Turcott directly at 231-922-4825 or turcotts@msu.edu.

August 9th - Challenging the Evolutionary Narrative of Africa's Botanic Prehistory

We’re so excited to be back at The Garden for this in-person event!

The sweeping grasslands and savannas of eastern Africa are home to some of the world’s most iconic animals. It is thought that the rise to dominance of these habitats – replacing shrinking and fragmenting forests – played a critical role in the evolution of Africa’s mammals, including humans. As the forests became smaller, our hominin ancestors strode out of the forest on two legs to walk across the savanna.

In this talk, Professor Kieran McNulty challenges this evolutionary narrative of Africa’s botanic prehistory based on his paleontological research in Kenya and Uganda. His results portray dynamic and heterogeneous biomes during the time of the earliest apes, begging the questions: why did apes evolve to be climbers if they were not living in forests? And, why did hominins become bipedal if it wasn’t due to shrinking forests?

We invite you to join in on the conversation. You may even uncover some answers for your own wondering mind!

About Kieran McNulty

Kieran McNulty is a Professor at the University of Minnesota, where he was awarded the McKnight Land-Grant Fellowship in 2008 and named Scholar of the College in 2017. His principal interests are in the evolution of apes and humans, pursued through laboratory research and paleontological fieldwork in eastern Africa. Kieran is the Associate Editor of Paleoanthropology for the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, and is the founder and treasurer of Friends of KMMA-CAITHA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting education, health, and sanitation among the rural poor of western Kenya. Kieran received his AB from Dartmouth College and his PhD from the City University of New York as part of the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology.


Member Discount: Members of The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park receive a $10 discount on all events. Please select the “Garden Member Ticket” option or, if applicable, click the blue promo code link on the ticket page and use promo code ’10Member’ to receive your discount. For in-person events, please plan to show your valid membership card the day of the event. Not a member yet? Join today!

Questions? Please email our Program Committee at grow@thebotanicgarden.org.

August 11th - Bugz! (FOR KIDS)

We can’t wait to host you and your children for this FREE in-person event! 

Calling all young bug lovers! (And even those who might need a little persuasion!) Come explore the amazing world of insects with MSU Extension Entomologist Dr. Nate Walton. You’ll learn what makes a bug a bug and how they’re different from other creepy crawly creatures. Then, get inside the mind of an insect and see the world from a ‘bug’s eye view.’ Dr. Nate will take you (and your accompanying grown-ups) on an insect safari to explore the wilds of The Botanic Garden while you look for and learn about some of Michigan’s coolest summer insects like: antlions, tiger beetles, and woolly bears.  

Note: This program is designed for learners ages 7 and up, but all ages are welcome to attend and participate! (An accompanying adult must be present.) A portion of the event will be outdoors so please dress accordingly. Individuals with allergies to insects (including cockroaches) should take necessary precautions before attending.  

Attendance is limited, so registration is required. Please register each attending CHILD only — no registration needed for accompanying adult.

About our Instructor

Dr. Nate Walton is a Michigan State University-trained entomologist with an MS and PhD in Entomology. He is the Consumer Horticulture Program Instructor for MSU Extension in Leelanau County and the Master Gardener Coordinator for Leelanau, Benzie, and Grand Traverse Counties. Nate enjoys teaching adults and youth of all ages on subjects including pollinator conservation, environmental stewardship, and integrated pest management.


Questions? Please email our Program Committee at grow@thebotanicgarden.org.

September 9th - Shrubs That Grow Well in Northern Michigan

More information coming soon!

Questions about events at the Garden?

If you have questions about events at The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park, please send us an email at grow@thebotanicgarden.org. We’d love to hear from you!

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