When you join us for an interpretive tour you will be immersed in the rich history and biodiversity of the Viles Arboretum in a way you have never experienced before. We will explore natural and human connections to our botanical collections, and the complex balances that exist between them. Our tours are also great for those interested in learning more about the wildlife which call the Arboretum home!
Each tour is designed to cater to the individual interests of group members, let us know what you are interested in learning more about! Some of the topics that may be covered include, but are not limited to;
Tours are offered at a rate of $14 per adult, and $8 per child, with a group minimum of two participants. Tours are offered every Wednesday, or call us to set up an appointment. We look forward to having you!
Get the kids outside and involved in nature! We are pleased to offer programs that cater to the interests of younger audiences. Our youth programs are designed to excite and encourage kids to interact with their surroundings. Participants will seek out areas where wildlife such as frogs, turtles, deer and numerous bird species can be found to allow children to interact with wildlife in a positive learning environment with our tour guides. Programs can be designed to cater to the needs and interests of individual groups to ensure the best possible experience.
Inquiries & Reservations:
Phone 207-626-7989 or e-mail us with your inquiry at email@example.com
In case of inclement weather - call the Visitor's Center to confirm or re-schedule your program.
All of these presentations are science based, fun, and humor filled, fast paced and interactive with the student audience. The speaker takes every opportunity to reach out to the audience and teach them to challenge assumptions, question “facts”, and identify misinformation and how to analyze subject matter on their own. Many include various props and specimens. Each can be tailored to your time constraints and most can be presented to small and large audiences, and various age groups.
We will also design a course for your particular needs. Just ask.
REPTILES & AMPHIBIANS OF NEW ENGLAND
Available during the late spring, summer, and early fall.
Maine has many species of reptiles and amphibians. Each has its own identifying characteristics, habits, habitats in which it is more commonly found, sounds it makes and even odors it emits. We will cover basic identification, ecology, observation and sampling techniques, record keeping, inventory and conservation needs, species distribution and information that is still unknown about even some of our more common species. Depending on the time of year, we will have live specimens to view as part of this presentation.
Available only during the spring months when conditions permit.
We explore the fascinating world of vernal pools, their inhabitants and ecological cycles, using slides, video, lecture and an array of research equipment used by ecologists to unlock the mysteries of these wonderful wetland communities. Your perspective of this often overlooked wetland will not be the same after participating in this program. From our earliest spawning amphibian the wood frog to the courtship dance of the beautiful yellow spotted salamander, you will leave not only with a science based understanding of vernal pools, but the ability to walk your own woods and favorite places and identify vernal pools on your own.
Techniques and tools for sampling and taking measurements are covered as are conservation measures for protecting these small yet very important natural communities.
Not available during winter months.
Our pond study will allow students to take a behind-the-scenes look at complex aquatic ecosystems. The Pond Study Program will delve into the history of the Viles Arboretum property as we cover how the Viles Pond was historically used as a source of water for the Maine State Hospital. We will discuss how historic damming Whitney Brook to create the pond continues to alter this aquatic ecosystem nearly 100 years later. The concept of indicator species will be used to discuss ecosystem health. Students will have the opportunity to get hands on and collect samples and use them to discuss the health of our study pond here at the Arboretum.
An excellent option for younger audiences, students will examine the similarities between their own homes and animal habitats. We will examine the core components of habitats; food, water, shelter and space and find examples of each for different species found around the arboretum. Several opportunities for student engagement through games and activities exist to help engage even the most active of audiences.
Our tree identification program leaves the field guides home and takes you on a completely new approach to learning about trees. We teach the “language” with which trees and other plants speak to us and tell us who they are. Making tangible connections with nature is the tenet of our teaching approach and we use all our senses in the endeavor. From patterns to smells to textures and tastes, unique elements of every plant are presented in a way that few will forget. Students learn to identify a variety of tree species by using a dichotomous key that requires looking closely at bark, leaves, branches and buds. Students then use arborists tools like diameter tapes and increment borers to measure the age, height, and circumference of a tree.
CHEMISTRY IN NATURE
Explore the chemical reactions that drive our natural world. During our chemistry in nature program we will discuss how trees make energy from the sun using chemical reactions within the chloroplasts in their leaves, and how the pH of soils and water influence the ecosystems around them. Students will be asked to explore reasons why the production of energy in plants through chemical reactions is crucial in supporting the lives of humans and animals which depend upon them. Additionally, we will discuss how human activity can disrupt these natural processes, and the consequences that result from these disruptions.