YOUTH PROGRAMS

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Upcoming Events

 

Leave Your Footprint - Summer Art Enrichment Program 

With our Artist in Residence, Deborah Coffey

Children ages 8-13 are invited to work alongside our Artist in Residence, Deborah Coffey, for one of three special collaborative art opportunities (please pick one so more can participate). Each week will feature a different large-scale project to be installed in our new At Home in the Woods Family Garden. 

Free, Registration Required (12 participant maximum for each)

Register here: All sections are now full. Please call 540-568-3194 to be added to the waitlist.

Participants may choose one of the following art opportunities:

Full - June 21-23 | 9 AM - 12 PM: Texture-based Weaving Project - Participants create a weaved art piece between two trees using colorful upcycled silk, fabric, and natural items found within the arboretum. The art will be near the texture circle in the At Home in the Woods Family Garden.

 

Full - June 28-30 | 9 AM - 12 PM: Welcome Pole for Forest Creatures Painting - Participants will learn about animals that live in the woods and will use colorful paints to paint creatures on wooden poles. Poles will be installed in the “creature features” area of the At Home in the Woods Family Garden.

 

Full - July 12-14 | 9 AM - 12 PM: Good Intentions Flag Painting - Participants will be using simple cotton material to paint their goodwill and welcoming messages to the forest. Flags will be hung between the trees throughout the At Home in the Woods Family Garden.

 

 

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Storytime in the Understory

Mondays, June 6, 27, July 11, 25, August 8, 22 | 11 AM - 11:30 AM
Free, No Registration Required

Pre-School - Elementary suggested

Bring a blanket and come enjoy 30 minutes of nature-themed reading. We will meet in the At Home in the Woods Family Garden in our new Storytime area!

Fairy House/Gnome Home Building 

Thursday, June 9, Friday, July 22, Friday, August 12 | 11 AM - 12 PM                       Free, No Registration Required

Pre-School - Elementary suggested

We will meet in Fairy World in the At Home in the Woods Family Garden to explore the magic and wonder of the outdoors with a story together, then have free space to build a habitat out of found natural materials for our fairy and gnome friends!

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Nature Study Series: Explore the Flora 


Tuesday, June 7, Mondays July 25, August 15 | Time: 4:00PM - 4:45PM

All Ages Welcome

Has wonder and curiosity about the natural world ever made you stop and look a little closer? What’s that called? How does it grow? Getting to know our flora is a rewarding life-long skill that just takes a little effort to cultivate. Drop in for our free nature study series for families: we’ll meet at the Frances Plecker Education Center for a short nature walk through the Arboretum, then hone in for a close look at one of our native plants! We will make careful observations, learn some facts and lore, and do a little relaxed sketching. Bring a notebook or paper and some colored pencils, but we’ll have extras on hand. Registration requested but not required.

Register here: Nature Study Series Registration

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Wondercraft: 

Butterfly Capes

Wednesday, July 20 | 2 PM 
Free, Register here: Butterfly Capes

For Elementary School age Explorers (and older)

We will meet in the Pavilion in the At Home in the Woods Family Garden to make butterfly wing capes with watercolor decoration! Bring along an old light-colored sheet to transform into butterfly wings if you have one; otherwise we will have some for you.

Spider Webs

For Elementary School age Explorers (and older)

Wednesday, August 10 | 2 PM
Free, Register here: Spider Webs

Join us at the Pavilion in the At Home in the Woods Family Garden to explore the intricate designs of spider webs and do some web making embroidery of our own!

Soundscape Painting

With Artist in Residence, Deborah Coffey

  Tuesday - Thursday, July 19 - 21 | 9AM - 12PM
   $50 (Supplies Included)

 Ages 8 - 13

This class promotes sensitivity to sound through careful listening to and interpretation of sounds through drawing and painting. We look at the paintings of Wassily Kandinsky who had the ability of synesthesia, the ability to see sounds internally, in "the mind's eye". Kandinsky was able to see color, shapes and lines when listening to music and sounds and each element held personal meaning for him.

In this class we interpret the sounds in the Family Garden, allowing our own sensitivity to internally respond to ambient and instrumental sounds. A hand drum will be included in the mix. A short mindfulness practice in listening helps to open the door to sound sensitivity. Afterwards, a movement component encourages children to move their bodies and arms in response to specific sounds.

Experiences will be interpreted on large watercolor paper, expressed as line, shape, and color to represent what has been heard and received.

$50, supplies will be provided.

Registration here: Soundscape Painting

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Nature Writing Workshops

  Thursdays, June 2, July 7, August 11 | 3:30PM
   Free

Ages 10+

Naturalist, Anna Maria Johnson, invites students ages 10+ ​to join her at the Pavilion 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. Come once, twice, or all three times to see how nature is changing throughout the summer. Free! Registration requested but not required.

Registration here: Nature Writing

Nature Journaling Classes with Kelli Hertzler

Nature Journaling is based on intentional observation of the natural world. We will have a quick introduction to nature journaling and then jump right in to studying specimens with guided lessons—see each class topic below! 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. Students will leave the class with information to help them continue journaling on their own. Our instructor, Kelli Hertzler, is a JMU alumna who earned a B.S. degree in Fine Art with a Biology minor. She is an exhibiting artist whose work explores the natural world. (web: KHertzlerArt.wordpress.com, Facebook: KHertzlerArt)

For Teens & Tweens

Birds!

  Friday, July 22 | 2 PM - 4 PM
   $30

Our subject matter for the day will focus on birds, beginning with anatomy and then exploring how we can learn from their life cycles, habits and habitats. Our class concludes with journaling from life with the birds we can find in the arboretum. $30, supplies provided including a journal to keep. Class will meet in the arboretum Pavilion next to the At Home in the Woods Family Garden.

Registration here: Birds!

Insects!

  Thursday, July 14 | 2 PM - 4 PM
   $30

Our subject matter for the day will focus on insects, beginning with anatomy and then exploring how we can learn from their life cycles, habits and habitats. Our class concludes with journaling from life with the insects we can find in the arboretum. $30, supplies provided including a journal to keep. Class will meet in the arboretum Pavilion next to the At Home in the Woods Family Garden.

Registration here: Insects!

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Water Appreciation Day

  Thursday, August 11 | 10 AM - 12 PM
   Free

For the Whole Family

Made possible in part by a grant from the Shenandoah Valley Pure Water Forum, this morning of activities will teach families about the water around us, how it gets polluted, and what we can do to keep our watershed clean and healthy. We’ll have activities suitable for both younger and older children, so bring the whole family! Registration required.

Registration Here: Water Appreciation Day

Big Bug Hunt

A Collaboration with Explore More Discovery Museum

  Wednesday, August 17 | 12 PM
   Free

For the Whole Family

Meet us at the Pavilion for a scavenger hunt for the fascinating insects that call the Arboretum home. Learn about the different parts of an insect and how other invertebrates, such as spiders and millipedes, are different. After the Big Bug Hunt, our friends from Explore More will help us make a bug-themed creation to take home.

Registration Here: Big Bug Hunt

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Looking Forward to Summer: Explorer Camp!


Registration is full, however, you may add your name to the waitlist!

Grades 4 - 6 | Jun 13 - 17 | 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM 

Grades 1 - 3 | Aug 1 - 5 | 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM 

Bring your own packed lunch Monday-Thursday, lunch will be provided on Friday. One snack will be provided each day.

We are delighted to host Explorer Day Camp through the JMU School of Professional and Continuing Education—Youth Programs! We will have 1 week of camp for rising 1st through 3rd graders and 1 week of camp for rising 4th to 6th graders.

The Arboretum Explorer Camp is the perfect place for budding naturalists, animal lovers, and young outdoor enthusiasts. Join us on the beautiful grounds of the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum as we learn about the soil and worms, insects, birds, and plants. Campers will hear stories, learn to "put on their owl eyes and fox feet," build a terrarium, visit the Food Forest and pollinator meadow on JMU's east campus, learn to identify local birds and trees, take an insect safari, and do lots of Arboretum exploring! Instructors will include Arboretum staff, JMU students, and local naturalists.

For more information and to register visit: Explorer Camp Webpage  

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

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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 | ejcarboretum@jmu.edu 
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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