Join Us

The following programs are available either at the Arboretum, in your classroom, or where your group meets. More programs are being developed. Special arrangements may also be made to cover a variety of other environmental topics. Contact us at 626-7989 or to make special arrangements as part of scheduling your group or class for any of our fun filled events!

Programs Offered



A walking tour of the Arboretum's plant collections, habitats, and historic sites, including seasonal natural history highlights. Supports MLR standards A1, A3, E1, and E2. Grades K-12.


Wildlife Habitat - Students compare and contrast living organisms in at least two habitats (Wetland, Pond, Forest, and/or field), then use what they have learned to assess how variations in a habitat can affect the organisms that live there, and how organisms maintain and/or change their habitats. Supports MLR standards A1, A3, E1, and E2. Grades 3-8.


Wetlands and Pond Life - Students collect and identify macro-invertebrates, then use what they find to assess the water quality in Viles Pond. Students also compare and contrast the plant and animal life in the nearby marshes to help them understand the similarities and differences between marsh and pond habitats. Supports MLR standards A1, A3, C3, E1, and E2. Grades 3-8.



Students collect a variety of plant seeds to better understand the adaptations plants have made to help them survive in their chosen habitats. Supports MLR standards A1, A3, E1, and E2. Grades 3-8.


This is a hands-on workshop and presentation and depending on the time of year or the location, it will involve a brief field/outdoor component where students will learn the proper techniques for collecting plant specimens.  If this is not possible, specimens will be provided and this instruction will be done in the classroom.  The goal of this workshop/program is for all participants to gain a working knowledge of all elements of herbarium creation.

Why create a herbarium and what are the uses of herbarium specimens? What are the tools needed and how do you use them? (Includes using the vasculum, proper collection techniques, the plant press, the art and science of display, collecting ethics, preparing and mounting your specimens, labeling,  proper pens and ink, suppliers of herbarium supplies, and proper collection storage. A small materials fee may be required.


Have you ever wondered what goes into designing and developing a nature preserve?  Veteran preserve designer Mark DesMeules will walk you through a slide presentation depicting a variety of natural areas and how they were discovered, determined to be candidates for protection as natural areas, how they were designed and the complex process that involves working with land owners, negotiating,  raising funds for land purchases, etc. 

This is an excellent and behind the scenes view into the fascinating world  of the many steps leading to the permanent protection and creation of natural areas and preserves.  You are sure to enjoy the story telling, wit and humor Mark brings to a subject not often available to the public. Every site comes with its own unique challenges, hazards, needs, ecological concerns, and human characters. A classroom exercise can also be included where the class is divided into groups and each group is presented with the challenge of designing a preserve around a specific species or natural community and a list of issues.

Each group presents its strategic plan of ways in which it will address the various hurdles their site presents and they must justify the boundaries they delineate on a provided topographic map. Time permitting, groups get to interview a land owner and negotiate a land transaction. 



Students learn about latitude, longitude, coordinates, and how to use a compass and a hand-held GPS unit to navigate their way to caches located around the Arboretum, each of which offers an opportunity for natural history investigation. Supports MLR standards B1, C1, C2, and E1. Grades 3-8.


Students explore the Arboretum to look for evidence of past farming activity as well as the difficult time that was had trying to find pure drinking water for the State hospital. By doing so they will be able to explain how the environment supports and constrains human activity, and the role technology plays in altering the relationship between those factors. Supports MLR standards A1 and C3. Grades 3-8.