Programs Supporting Literacy, Imagination, and the Arts in the Natural World
Storytime in the Understory

2nd & 4th Thursdays | June - September | 11-11:30 AM

Pre-School - Elementary suggested

Bring a blanket if you like and come enjoy nature-themed reading. We will meet in the At Home in the Woods Family Garden in the Storytime area! In inclement weather, we will meet inside the Frances Plecker Education Center.

flyer for gnome home building activity
Fairy House/Gnome Home Building

Tuesdays | July 16 & August 13 | 11:00 AM

Pre-School - Elementary suggested

In this imagination-based program, we invite preschool to elementary-aged children and their families to come to the Storytime Spot in the At Home in the Woods Family Garden to hear an enchanting story about forest fairies and the magic of nature. Then you'll build your own fairy house or gnome home for the Arboretum out of natural materials found in the woods! 

Register here

Arboretum Explorer Camp 2024

The Arboretum Explorer Camp is the perfect place for budding naturalists, animal lovers, and young outdoor enthusiasts. With explorations, activities, and crafts thoughtfully curated by arboretum staff, this week is designed to help children deepen their friendship with nature! Instructors will include Arboretum staff, JMU students, and local naturalists. This year's theme is Incredible Invertebrates!

campers and counselor in herb garden at arboretum camp

For rising 1st through 3rd graders: July 29 - August 2 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. daily

For rising 4th through 6th graders: August 5 - 9 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. daily

Registration will open through the JMU School of Professional and Continuing Education Youth Programs at the end of January. 

Register Here

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 - 4 PM)

How It Works
Pick A Backpack
- Reptiles & Amphibians
- Flowers
- Exploring Trees
- Forest Mammals
- Butterflies
- Insects
- Macroinvertebrates
Leave a driver's license or car keys with us, to be picked up after the backpack is returned.
Enjoy the backpack's activities and adventure onward!
Return Backpack
Once you're ready to depart the Arboretum, you can return your backpack(s).

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