November 29, 2022
From his first day as a youth volunteer in 2018, The Morton Arboretum “felt like a second home to me,” says Dhruv Syngol, now a 17-year-old senior at Metea Valley High School in Aurora. Like many of the teenage volunteers who work in the Children’s Garden, support scientists in the research program, and assist in many Arboretum programs, he’s found his experiences eye-opening and inspiring.
Seeing scientists using drones to create digital models of trees helped him understand how the Arboretum innovates to address the challenges facing trees in a world with a changing climate. “Lighting a smile among visitors” has given him “joy and happiness.” “I’ve blossomed with strong leadership and public speaking skills,” he says.
Dhruv’s new skills and exposure to science and environmental issues at the Arboretum helped lead him to host a YouTube webinar series about STEM education called Open Gears. In the webinars, he invites college students and professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to share their experiences and educational journeys with students. He credits his work as a senior volunteer at the Arboretum for his resolve to “ignite interest in STEM for young kids.”
On Giving Tuesday, Dhruv urges all supporters to give generously to the Arboretum. “The Arboretum is truly a champion of trees, where new research and conservation strategies are being engineered constantly,” he says.
He’s looking forward to college and a technology-related future in a field such as data analytics or engineering in which he can use his skills across various domains, including the environment. His Arboretum volunteer work, he says, “has opened my eyes to the opportunities in promoting sustainability and awareness of climate change.”
Dhruv especially encourages donations to support the youth volunteer and education programs. “The world needs the young generation to step up and contribute to a world adapting to a changing climate, “ he says, “and STEM education is the root of creativity and innovation.”
Donations to The Morton Arboretum can support new ways to expose children to the sciences while instilling them with a “scientist” mindset that encourages them to question the world around them, he says. His own curiosity has been encouraged by easy conversations with open-minded and approachable scientists and other staff who are passionate about their work and eager to communicate about it.
“Everyone here, from botanists to video producers, is dedicated and determined to create a better, sustainable world,” he says. “I’ve always felt that passion no matter who I talked to at the Arboretum.”
By donating to support the Arboretum’s work toward a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world, he says, “everyone can make an impact.”
Show your support for The Morton Arboretum this giving Tuesday by making a donation.