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Supporting students scientists at Quarryhill In Glen Ellen

Bill McNamara is the director of Quarryhill Botanical Garden, in Glen Ellen. Over the course of 30 years, McNamara has built the garden with rare and endangered plants he found in Asia. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

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Sonoma Valley’s Quarryhill Botancial Garden, celebrating its 30th anniversary, is committed to improving science education for students in Sonoma County. It relies on community support to achieve its goal of providing hands-on science education.

Shrinking budgets have taken a toll on elementary science education and many schools are now relying on scientific institutions to provide hands-on opportunities to keep students engaged in science. Quarryhill has recognized this need and last year hosted 1,400 fourth- and fifth-grade students in its science education program. Quarryhill officials hope to keep students engaged in science and help foster “the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts, naturalists and scientists.”

The garden will host its fifth annual Wild Collections: Expeditions for Education fundraiser from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 20.

“It will be a lovely party for an important cause,” said Bill McNamara, president and executive director of Quarryhill Botanical Garden. “We’ll ferry you up through the profusion of flowering dogwoods, irises and rhododendrons to the center of the garden,” said McNamara.

There guests will enjoy Asian-inspired cuisine, a cocktail and a live performance by Raquel Berlind’s jazz band.

McNamara says it will be a good way to experience what the garden has to offer.

The evening concludes with Paul W. Meyer, of the Morris Arboretum, who will speak on the importance of educating children about nature, followed by a brief fund-a-need to benefit Quarryhill’s education program.

For information and all the details about Wild Collections: Expeditions for Education, including member and nonmember prices, visit quarryhillbg.org.

Quarryhill Botanical Garden is located at 12841 Sonoma Highway in Glen Ellen.