2015 Calendar of Annual Events

Updated: November 3, 2015

  • February 13 & 14, 2016, Valentine's Day Horse Drawn Carriage Rides, Saturday evening 6—9:00 pm, Sunday afternoon 1—4pm. Romantic horse drawn carriages leave from the Francss Plecker Education Center by moonlight, advance reservations recommended. Walk up rides may be available day of. Call to reserve.
  • February 17, 2016, Miniature Landscape Workshop,  Wednesday noon—1:00 pm, in the Francss Plecker Education Center. Landscapes In Miniature business Owner Pam Shank, demonstrates and guides participants through the process of creating a miniature landscape decor piece for patio, home, or office. Create a wee world with different kinds of botanicals each year. Registration opens online 30 days in advance of the workshop.
  • February 23, 2016, Frances Litten Invitational Dinner, Tuesday 5:30—7:00 pm, Festival Conference Center, Ballroom B. By invitation only, the 9th annual Frances A. Litten Invitational Dinner is a gathering of colleagues and friends of founding arboretum board member and educator, Frances A. Litten.
  • February 23, 2016, Frances Litten Botanical Lecture, Tuesday 7:00—8:30 pm, Festival Conference Center, Ballroom A.  The 9th annual lecture offered free to the public, held in the Festival Conference Center on the campus of James Madison University. The lecture begins at 7:00 p.m. and will once again give the public practical tips and information about many exciting and innovative uses of common plants in landscape designs and home gardening. No registration needed. Book and arboretum products sales after the lecture 8:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Free parking in JMU Festival lots.
  • March 17, 2016, St. Patrick's Highland Strains, Thursday 5:30—6:15 pm. Dress for the forecast, and bring lawn chairs or a blanket and a carry-on nonalcoholic picnic dinner for a free public live 5:30—6:15 pm performance of Highland Celtic music performed by JMU Music degree students. No reservation is needed. Plenty of free parking in Convo Lot G.
  • March 18, 2016, Wonderwater Workshop, Friday, noon—1:00 pm, in the Frances Plecker Ed Center and on the arboretum grounds. Take a peek into the microscopic world of aquatic bacteria! Be a child scientist for the day with JMU Biology professor Dr. Morgan Steffen, and collect and then examine water samples from the arboretum pond and stream. Elementary school age children will learn how to use a microscope to view and identify the bacteria that live in the water. Wear water friendly shoes or rain boots, and dress for the weather on the day of the workshop. This educational children's workshop is free. A parent or caregiver is welcome to attend with their child. Registration opens online in mid-February, 2016.
  • March 23, 2016, Birding Workshop, Wednesday, noon—1:00 pm in the Frances Plecker Ed Center. In partnership with the Rockingham Bird Club, an avifauna notable and photographer of Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Valley avian species Diane Lepkowski, lectures on songbirds to raptors, giving an annual spring lecture and forum discussion in the *Francss Plecker Education Center. This workshop partners with guided birding trail walks in April or May.
  • March 27, 2016, Easter Sunrise Service, with JMU RISE. For time information and details, visit: https://beinvolved.jmu.edu/organization/rise
  • April 3, 2016A Walk You’ll Remember! Sunday, 1:00—3:00 pm. Sigma Kappa and Tau Kappa Epsilon cosponsor an annual 5k benefit for the Central and Western Virginia Chapter of the American Alzheimer’s Association, on the arboretum grounds, “A Walk You’ll Remember!” Runners cool down and enjoy coffee, decaf, tea, and water served free compliments JMU Catering.
  • April 20 to October 15, 2016, Walk Up Plant Sales and Private Greenhouse Shopping Appointments with an Arboretum Greenhouse Manager will begin April 20. Call 540-568-3194 to reserve a half-hour appointment to shop the growing season long from the complete inventory of perennials, shrubs and trees at the arboretum greenhouse.
  • April 20 to October 15, 2016, Private Greenhouse Shopping by Appointment Beginning in mid-April, and projected to continue until the first hard frost in the region which will be about mid-October. Shop from the entire greenhouse inventory of natives, exotics and cultivars perennials, shrubs, and trees, by advance appointment only, with $50 minimum purchase required. Call (540) 568-3194, or visit the arboretum website to schedule the appointment.
  • April 22 & 23, 2016, Arbor Day Trees and Native Plant Sale, Friday and Saturday, 9:00 am—3:00 pm in the parking lot of the *Francss Plecker Education Center. In the prime time of spring, the Arboretum offers a wide selection of wildflowers, contrasting foliage plants like native ferns, with unusual shrubs and trees that can make home and business landscaping ecofriendly and lovely! To honor those who educate youth, all city and county public school teachers receive 15% off tree purchases presenting a school ID!
  • April, 2016Easter Egg Hunt, date to be announced online approximately a month ahead,  10:00 am. Egg hunt will start in the Pavilion, for young children with the Theta Nu Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta, Saturday, pre-registration required. Cost is $5 per child.
  • April, 2016, Wildflower Walks, date to be announced online approximately a month ahead, 10:00 am, An Arboretum Exploration Series Tour with the Arboretum Director. Enjoy viewing dozens of bulb varieties and wildflowers on exhibit at the EJC Arboretum.
  • April, 2016, Guided Bird Walk, date to be announced online approximately a month ahead, Wednesday, 8:00 a.m., in the Pavilion. Led by a birding expert, Greg Moyer, in partnership with the Rockingham Bird Club.
  • April, 2016, Wildflower Walk with The Virginia Native Plant Society, date to be announced online approximately a month ahead, Friday, 10:00 am. VNPS docent tour guide and wildflower aficionado, starting at the Pavilion.
  • April, 2016, Tour Celebrating Historic Garden Week, date to be announced online approximately a month ahead, 1:00 pm, the EJC Arboretum celebrates with a tour on Virginia Arbor Day starting at the *Francss Plecker Education Center. Arboretum grounds are open free to public, dawn to dusk. Tour will be led by Jan Sievers Mahon, Arboretum Director and will focus on the arboretum's bulb collection, wildflowers and flowering shrubs and trees. Tours will start at the Frances Plecker Education Center. Preregistration is not needed.
  • April, 2016, Arbor Day in Virginia date to be announced online approximately a month ahead, event is the Virginia Native Trees Tour with the Arboretum Director. The tour meets at 1:00 pm at the *Francss Plecker Education Center.
  • April, 2016, Annual Spring Notable Wildflowers Field Trip, date to be announced online approximately a month ahead, 10:00 am—1:00 pm. The EJC Arboretum partners with area Master Naturalists for a spring field trip to experience first hand some of the incredible biodiversity of Shenandoah Mountain. Two free guided walks sponsored by the Headwaters Master Naturalists are offered at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. Please visit the Headwaters Master Naturalist website for FREE but required registration.
  • April, 2016, Earth Day Wildflower Walk, date to be announced online approximately a month ahead, 10:00 am Francss Plecker Education Center, The Director leads a walk highlighting the environmental benefits the arboretum provides its community.
  • April, 2016, Spring Children's Nature Art Workshop, date to be announced online approximately a month ahead,10:00—noon, in the Frances Plecker Education Center, (FPEC). The Mon, Wed, and Thurs workshop offers children’s education on plant identification as well as basic botanical drawing, all materials included in a $35 cover charge. Advance online registration needed.
  • April, 2016, Virginia Arbor Day Public School Gift Tree Planting Ceremony, date to be announced online approximately a month ahead, Smithland Elementary school students, faculty, staff and parents gather for an Arbor Day observation and ceremony, to plant a tree at their school and learn about the value of greening Harrisonburg’s public school campuses, as the EJC Arboretum grows into its community. 2014, A new public school hosts this event each year. (Schools can apply to be selected for a tree planting ceremony by emailing the Education Coordinator on the arboretum website Contact Us page.)
  • May 20 & 21, 2016, Spring Celebration Plant Sale, Friday and Saturday, 9:00 am—3:00 pm in the parking lot of the *Francss Plecker Education Center. Wide selection of plants, shrubs and trees to make any home or business landscape ecofriendly and lovely, with Saturday educational activities that may include a lecture, demonstrations, ask-an-expert, raffles, live music, and a butterfly release.
  • May 21, 2016, Butterfly Release with facilitator Gail Napora, Saturday, noon at the Jurney Stage Garden during the Spring Celebration Plant Sale, free, no registration needed, Free Parking in Convo G without a JMU permit.
  • May, 2016, Mother's Day Carriage Rides, date to be announced online approximately a month ahead, 1:00 pm—4:00 pm Sunday afternoon, in the Arboretum. Carriages leave from the Francss Plecker Education Center. Give a special mom a memorable celebration by a carriage ride through the natural beauty of the Arboretum; costs vary per person for adults and children, and per private carriage, phone for cost and to reserve (540)568-3194 or email.
  • May, 2016, Wine and Cheese on the Ernst Terrace, date to be announced online approximately a month ahead, Friday, 5:00—7:00 pm, Arrival at 5:00 Demo at 5:30 and Lecture at 6:00. Online Registration opens 30 days before event.
  • June 10, 2016, Flying Flowers: Butterflies and Moths in the Garden, with Gail Napora. Friday, noon—1:00 pm in the Francss Plecker Education Center, Free. Starts in the FPEC then goes outdoors to the Monarch Waystation Garden. Registration opens online 30 days before the program date.
  • June 14, July 12, August 9, & September 13, 2016, Storytime in the Understory, Tuesdays, 11 am—noon approximately, monthly program begins in June second Tuesdays, and continues through September 13. Children will develop an understanding of the importance of nature from children’s literature selections. Bring a picnic blanket or lawn chairs, and a brown bag picnic lunch for after Storytime.
  • July, 2016, Summer Children's Art Workshop, dates to be announced online approximately a month ahead, 10:00 am—noon, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Children will learn summer trees and flowers of the arboretum. The workshop offers education on plant I.D. and basic botanical drawing.
  • July, 2016, Summer Blue Moon Carriage Rides, dates to be announced online approximately a month ahead, 7—10:00 pm Friday evening. Enjoy being drawn through the woodlands of the Arboretum by beautiful Belgium and Percheron teams of horses and an experienced coachman on a warm summer night in a romantic convertible carriage.
  • July 15, 2016, The Engineering of Moths and Butterflies, with Gail Napora. Friday, noon—1:00 pm in the Francss Plecker Education Center, Free. Starts in the FPEC then goes outdoors to the Monarch Waystation Garden. Registration opens online 30 days before the program date.
  • Wednesdays, July & August, 2016, Summer Brown Bag Lunch Lecture Series, dates to be announced online approximately a month ahead noon, in the Pavilion, Wednesdays (unless otherwise noted and except July 4th week), free, no advance registration needed, enjoy lunch and a great topical lecture.
  • September, 2016, Wine & Cheese in the Trees Lecture, dates to be announced online approximately a month ahead 5:00—7:00 pm, Friday. Arrival at 5:00, Demo at 5:30, Lecture at 6:00 p.m., Enjoy a series of lectures featuring botanicals used in fine cuisine and wines, includes international cheeses, two beverages of choice, and culinary demonstration tastings.
  • September 23—October 2, 2016, Fall Plant and Bulb Sale, Weekdays during normal business hours 8:00am–4:00pm, held in the parking area near the Francss Plecker Education Center parking lot. An annual sale in time for fall planting, starting the last weekend in September and running through JMU Family Weekend.
  • September, 2016, Wonderground Workshop, dates to be announced online approximately a month ahead noon—1:00 pm, in the Frances Plecker Ed Center and on the arboretum grounds. Take a peek into the microscopic world of terrestrial bacteria! Be a child scientist for the day and collect and then examine ground samples from the arboretum grounds. Elementary school age children will learn how to use a microscope to view and identify the bacteria that live in the ground. Dress for the weather on the day of the workshop. This educational children's workshop is free. A parent or caregiver is welcome to attend with their child. Registration opens approximately one month before the event.
  • October, 2016, Remarkable Trees Field Trip, dates to be announced online approximately a month ahead Remarkable Trees Field Trip departs from the Francss Plecker Education Center and will be supported by JMU UREC. This is a 12 mile bicycle trip with a picnic lunch rest stop midway, enjoying the Remarkable Trees of the C&O Canal between Williamsport and Ft. Frederick. Bicycles and round trip transportation are provided for a field trip fee of $25.
  • October, 2016, Migratory Butterflies, Children's Monarch Migration Tagging Workshop, date to be announced online approximately a month ahead,  A workshop program with Linda Marchman, owner of Social Butterflies, teaching tagging for migratory Monarchs that emerged from their pupae. This program includes a lecture, a tagging demonstration.
  • October, 2016, Fall Color Carriage Rides, dates to be announced online approximately a month ahead  Sunday, 1:00—5:00 pm in the Arboretum, enjoy a horse-drawn carriage through the autumn colors of the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum.
  • October 1 & 2, 2016, Fall Bulb Sale, Friday and Saturday, 8:00 am&mdash2:00 pm in the Francss Plecker Education Center, and Saturday only Godwin Field morning, Godwin Field sale closes with the football game kickoff. Choose the JMU Colors Annual Bulb Collection of beautiful and rare bulbs, or buy from a selection of bulbs to plant in home or business landscapes.
  • October, 2015, Children's Harvest Festival, dates to be announced online approximately a month ahead Saturday 1—5 pm, with Gus Bus, the JMU Duke Dog, free children's crafts, dancers, and musicians, all join together with the EJC Arboretum, for the Children's Harvest Festival!
  • November, 2016, Bonsai Workshop, dates to be announced online approximately a month ahead noon—1:00 pm each session, Arboretum Grounds Manager and Bonsai Master, Mike Hott, attend in the Francss Plecker Education Center to create a “wee-tree” to enjoy at home or office. $35 fee covers all materials inclusive to create a Bonsai tree.
  • November, 2016, JMU Holiday, dates to be announced online approximately a month ahead EJC Arboretum offices closed.
  • December, 2016, Fall Children's Art Workshop, dates to be announced online approximately a month ahead Monday, Wednesday, and Friday noon—2:00 pm in the Francss Plecker Education Center, children will study and create botanical drawings of leaves, their forms and colors, and berries found within the arboretum, as well as plant I.D. $35 charge includes materials.
  • November—December, 2016, Festive Holiday Plants Online Sale, dates to be announced online approximately a month ahead Bring the beauty of fresh blooming holiday plants into your home or office for the Holidays. The EJC Arboretum offers locally-grown, high-quality plants.
  • December, 2016, Annual Festive Greens Workshop, dates to be announced online approximately a month ahead noon—1:30 pm, Create a versatile holiday décor piece that will beautify any holiday home or business with style and fragrance, under the guidance of a floral expert, Abby Long from Blakemore’s Florist. Fee varies depending on supplies ordered when registering. Registration will open 30 days before the event. Held in the Francss Plecker Education Center.
  • December, 2016, Moonlight Holiday and Winter Commencement Carriage Rides, dates to be announced online approximately a month ahead 5—8:00 pm, reserve to enjoy a horse drawn holiday carriage moonlight or daytime ride. Horse teams are harnessed in jingle bells for this festive Holiday celebration. For the cost of a movie ticket, create a holiday memory of a lifetime! Browse arboretum website, late fall for information when posted. Carriages leave the Francss Plecker Education Center on a 20 minute schedule.
  • December 23 — January 1, 2017, Winter Holiday, dates to be announced online approximately a month ahead JMU closed, and EJC Arboretum offices are closed for winter holidays.

* "FPEC" Frances Plecker Education Center, found on the grounds of the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum,

780 University Blvd., Harrisonburg, VA 22807, 540-568-3194