The size of the botanical illustration classes at Denver Botanic Gardens is limited to 15 students, occasionally this is increased to 16, but the typical number varies between 11 and 14. The ideal class size is eleven students which gives the instructor adequate time to circulate in the classroom for the important one-on-one instruction and support to each student. Lateral learning through input from the fellow students is also very important especially on the more advanced classes. The microscopy classes are limited to 10 students. Our courses are 15 hours long divided into 3-hr sessions over a 5-week time period. Some of the advanced level elective courses are 18 or 21 hours long giving the student a satisfactory time to work with a more demanding task.
We schedule three class sessions more or less in parallel: one in the morning (9 a.m. – noon), one on the afternoon (1 – 4 p.m.) and one in the evening (6 – 9 p.m.). We also offer week-end workshops (Friday through Sunday, 5 hours/day). Our faculty has 8 teachers, each of them highly qualified on their own field (Karla Beatty, Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski, Renee Jorgensen, Libby Kyer, Marjorie Leggitt, Annie Reiser, Susan Rubin and Constance Sayas). Every year we have at least one international and two domestic visiting instructors as this is a highly important part of the program enrichment.
The curriculum for the certificate includes 13 required courses and at least 100 classroom hours of elective courses plus a portfolio.
In addition to the 109 courses offered at Denver Botanic Gardens during the current year (2010) we also offer one entry level class at the Arvada Center in Denver and two weekend workshops at Gateway Canyons Resort. Our satellite program at El Charco del Ingenio Botanical gardens in San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico was launched very successfully in December 2009 and nine classes are offered there in 2010 with students attending mostly from Mexico but also from the USA. The program also includes Café Botanique, a public lecture series on science and art. In 2009 we had 322 students who enrolled in 3 or more core classes during the year and 16 graduates from the program. Even though the program primarily is adult education the youngest student at the moment is 11 years old.
Our students are for the most part from Colorado, but we also have enrollments from many other states from Alaska to Florida and other countries such as U.K., Canada, Mexico and Brazil.
[Please click the pictures to get them enlarged. Pictures from the top: (1)Two typical classroom views from Classroom C at Denver Botanic Gardens; (2) Convallaria majalis by Annie Reiser; (3) Palisade at Gateway Canyons, Colorado; (4) view of San Miguel de Allende from from Marjorie Leggitt's sketchbook; (5) Wren MacDonald, our youngest student at the moment]
It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.