Upcoming Events


The Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb. 17-20 

We have a slate of adult and family programs to help you appreciate our local birds and begin birding! All may participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count from any location--visit for more information. We invite you to participate in one or more of our programs to meet some friendly local bird enthusiasts and receive a local birds checklist to assist your scouting efforts.  

Winter Birdsong

  with Local Bird Educator, Rich Wood

Friday, Feb 17 | 12 PM - 1 PM

Free, Register Here: Winter Birdsong Registration

Bring your lunch and enjoy a presentation led by Rich Wood on birds and birdsong, focusing on our winter residents. We will then head outside to discover some of the feathered songsters that call the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum home! 


Birding Basics with the Rockingham Bird Club

Saturday, Feb 18 | 11 AM - 12 PM

Free, Register Here: Birding Basics Registration

Meet at the Frances Plecker Education Center (please dress for the weather). The Rockingham Bird Club will give an overview of local birds and how to find them, then we’ll go out into the Arboretum to do some scouting for the bird count! This program is designed for adults, but families are welcome. 


We are offering programs specifically for youth and families, too! You can find more information about those at our youth programs page.

Litten Event Flyer

2023 Litten Lecture

Sound Ecology: How soundscapes impact gray catbirds and their avian communities


Featuring Research by Dr. Dana Moseley & Piano Performance by doctoral student Anna Showalter, with special guest Amanda Gookin, cellist. 


Friday, February 24 | Reception 5:45 PM | Lecture 7 PM

Location: Forbes Center for the Performing Arts - Recital Hall

With support from JMU College of Visual and Performing Arts 

This project was supported in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, which receives support from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.  

Free Admission, Registration Required 

Register Here: Litten Lecture 2023 Registration

Join us for a fascinating evening in sound ecology. JMU biologist Dr. Dana Moseley will share her research about how urban noise pollution can alter the song and breeding behavior of gray catbirds. Dr. Moseley and her lab make high-fidelity recordings of wild birds and soundscapes from the arboretum to the National Forest to parks in Washington, DC in order to measure differences across an urban gradient. Results indicate how successful our beloved backyard birds, catbirds, are in the face of the different habitats types they share with humans. 

Anna Showalter, a musician and JMU doctoral student, will share an original piece for piano and electroacoustics by former JMU music professor Ashkan Fakhrtabatabaie's that draws from audio data that Moseley collected at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and other Harrisonburg spaces. We will also enjoy a performance on this theme by cellist Amanda Gookin, executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival.

Admission is FREE to this event; however, your donation is much appreciated. 

A Book for the 'Burg Events

A community-wide reading program and activity series in collaboration with The Institute for the Stewardship of the Natural World, JMU Libraries, Eastern Mennonite University, Massanutten Regional Library, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at James Madison University. Check out the Book for the 'Burg website for more information and a complete listing of programs--including the following events hosted by the Arboretum! 

Book Discussion of Rachel Carson and Her Sisters 

Saturday, Feb 18 | 2 PM | Frances Plecker Education Center

Free, Register Here: Book Discussion of Rachel Carson and Her Sisters Registration

Part of the "A Book for the 'Burg" collaborative event series. Grab your copy of Rachel Carson and Her Sisters by Robert K. Musil from JMU library, EMU library, or Massanutten Regional Library and join us at the Frances Plecker Education Center to talk about it over light refreshments. Then, you'll be ready to engage with Dr. Musil's presentation at JMU, to which you are also invited!  

A Conversation About Sound Ecology

Wednesday, March 29 | 6 PM | Frances Plecker Education Center

Free, no registration needed, but you can RSVP here

In her book Silent Spring, Rachel Carson asks “Can anyone imagine…a springtime without a robin’s song?”  Have you thought about the role of the sounds of nature in your human experience? Join us for an interdisciplinary conversation about the sound worlds humans share with birds and animals. We’ll look through the lens of sound ecology - a discipline studying the relationship between human beings, sound, and their environment. We’ll consider how scientists, artists and educators can contribute toward the understanding and practice of a sound ecology.

This event is sponsored in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and presented by Anna Showalter, doctoral student in the JMU School of Music. 

Book Discussion of Silent Spring 

Saturday, April 22 | 2 PM | Frances Plecker Education Center

Free, Register Here: Book Discussion of Silent Spring Registration

Part of the "A Book for the 'Burg" collaborative event series. Grab your copy of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson from JMU library, EMU library, or Massanutten Regional Library and join us at the Frances Plecker Education Center to talk about it over light refreshments. 

A Book for the Burg Logo

51o8g1pnj1l._ac_sy780_.jpgSilent Spring Cover Image


Terrarium Workshop

  with local Sparrow's Floral Design owner Amanda Tutwiler

Saturday, March 4 | 10AM - 11 AM 

$50, includes instruction and everything you need to build your terrarium! 

Register here: Terrarium Workshop 

The workshop you all have been asking us about is back! Join us at the Frances Plecker Education Center as local Sparrow's Floral Design owner, Amanda Tutwiler, guides you as you create your own terrarium to take home.   



Frances Litten Botanical Lecture & Invitiational Reception
Great Backyard Bird Count

Workshop and/or Wine & Cheese

Guided Bird Walks
Guided Wildflower Walks
Spring Celebration Plant Sale

Spring Celebration Plant Sale
Guided Wildflower Walks
Wine & Cheese on the Ernst Tree Terrace

June - August
Summer Brown Bag Lunch Lecture Series

Wine & Cheese on the Ernst Tree Terrace
Fall Plant & Bulb Sale
Monarch Tagging Workshop

Remarkable Trees Field Trip


Festive Greens Workshop

April - October | Private Greenhouse Shopping by Appointment
$50 Minimum purchase required, call (540)-568-3194 to schedule

View Annual Youth Programs Calendar

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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