Rockford, Illinois News

Klehm Arboretum receives technology grant

ROCKFORD — Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden announced last week that it has been awarded a grant in the amount of $13,913 as part of the Smartphone Tour Pilot Program.

The funds come from the Dr. Courtney J. and Margaret Hutchins Hamlin Family Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois’ Community Grants Program.

With the award, Klehm will educate visitors about the arboretum’s vast tree and plant collections using interactive mobile technology. Though a smartphone-based platform, visitors can participate in interactive tours of the grounds and gardens throughout all seasons.

“This smartphone technology allows us to increase engagement and access to education year-round,” says Sam Burbach, director of education and programming. “With self-guided interactive tours and scavenger hunts, guests can explore our grounds in a new way while learning something new, no matter what day or time they visit.”

In addition to seasonal and themed tours, visitors will also be able to participate in scavenger-hunt activities using the smartphone-based platform. These activities will be investigative and hands-on oriented, and these “seek and find” style challenges will allow participants to identify unique trees and plants at Klehm based on their special characteristics. They will also be developed to suit audiences of different ages.

“We are so happy to have the opportunity to share Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden with the community in a new, engaging, and educational way thanks to this CFNIL Community Grant,”Burbach said.