Upcoming Events



Storytime in the Understory

Monday, Jan 10, Jan 24, Feb 14, Feb 28 | 11 AM - 11:30 AM
Free, No Registration Required

Pre-School - Elementary suggested

Join us for a lovely winter morning Storytime in the Arboretum! Bring a blanket, and snuggle up to hear a nature-themed reading! In case of cold or wet weather, Storytime will take place inside the Frances Plecker Education Center. Masks required inside the education center.

Fairy House/Gnome Home Building

Monday, January 31 | 12 PM - 1 PM                                                                                        Free, No Registration Required

Pre-School - Elementary suggested

We will meet at the Jurney Stage Garden to explore the magic and wonder of the outdoors with a story together, then journey out to the woods to build a habitat out of found natural materials for our fairy and gnome friends! 









The Beauty of Snowflakes

New Snow Date: Tuesday, Jan 25 | 12 PM - 1 PM 
Free, Register here: The Beauty of Snowflakes Registration

For Elementary School age Explorers (and older)

We will meet in the Frances Plecker Education Center to share the true story of Snowflake Bentley and take a closer look at the fascinating structure of snow. Then we’ll enjoy making our own paper snowflakes to brighten up a winter wonderland. Whether you are a beginner or have made entire blizzards before, we will have suggestions and instructions to step up your paper snowflake skills! Registration requested but not required.


Air Dry Clay Nature Prints

Friday, February 11 | 2 PM - 3 PM 
Free, Register here: Air Dry Clay Nature Prints Registration

For Elementary School age Explorers (and older)

We will meet in the Frances Plecker Education Center to take a look at some of the awesome textures nature provides and create some unique art using natural materials to print in air-drying clay! Registration requested but not required.

Nature Journaling Classes

Nature Journaling is based on intentional observation of the natural world. Emphasis will be on recording our experience with drawing, writing and quantifying. We will include all three methods, but we will focus on visual recording. Art skills are not a prerequisite for this class because renderings are based on careful observations.

Instructor will provide the following for use during class: paper, clipboard, pencil, plastic eraser, fine Sharpie, watercolor pencils, brushes and water containers. All necessary art supplies will be provided, but students are welcome to bring a personal sketchbook or preferred media. Students will leave the class with information to help them continue journaling on their own.

Kelli Hertzler is a JMU alumna, having earned a B.S. degree in Fine Art with a Biology minor. She is an exhibiting artist whose work explores the natural world.
Facebook: KHertzlerArt

Spring 2022 Dates TBA








Contact Katie Rankin at for more information about youth programs at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum.

Nature Writing Workshop

Friday, February 11 | 4 PM - 5 PM
Register here: Nature Writing Workshop

For Middle School and High School Students

Writing professor and Virginia Master Naturalist Anna Maria Johnson invites middle school and high school students ​to join her at the Frances Plecker Education Center for an hour of nature writing and sketching. We will use a combination of writing and drawing tools to record our observations and experience in a natural setting. Starting with the five senses, we will document what we see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. Then we will describe our feeling in our body in response to these sensations. Finally, we will write about the emotional feelings, associations, and memories that our experience in nature inspires in us. Anna Maria will provide field guides and other resources in case you want to learn more about the plants, fungi, and animals you observe.  Registration requested but not required.


The Backpack Program

Pre-School - Elementary

Explore the Arboretum with themed activities! This program is FREE. Backpacks are located in the lobby of the Frances Plecker Education Center, Monday - Friday (8 AM - 5 PM)

How it Works

1. Sign out a backpack of your choice:

- Reptiles & Amphibians
- Flowers
- Exploring Trees
- Forest Mammals
- Butterflies
- Insects
- Macroinvertebrate Study

2. Leave a driver's license with us, to be picked up after the backpack is returned.

3. Enjoy the backpack's activities and adventure onward!

Edith J. Carrier Arboretum
780 University Blvd, MSC 3705
Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807

(540)-568-3194 | 
Grounds | Free to the public | Dawn to dusk | 365 days a year
Frances Plecker Education Center | Monday - Friday | 8 AM - 4 PM

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