Upcoming Events


Storytime in the Understory

Mondays, March 27; April 10 (bilingual!) & 24; May 8 and 22 | 11 AM - 11:30 AM

Saturday, May 6 at 10 a.m. in partnership with Massanutten Regional Library

Free, Register here

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!

In inclement weather, we will meet inside the Frances Plecker Education Center with the exception of the May 6 event.

Fairy House/Gnome Home Building 

Thursday, April 6 at 12 p.m.

Saturday, May 6 at 11 a.m.

Wednesday, May 10 at 12 p.m.           

Free, Register here.

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!



Nature Study Series: Explore the Flora 

Tuesdays, March 14 & 28; April 11 & 25; May 9 & 23 | 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 arboretum pavilion, take 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. Rain or shine.

Register here: Nature Study Series Registration

Past Winter Youth Programs

Poet's Nature Walk and Writing Workshop

For Elementary Age Explorers and Older; Grown-Ups Welcome too

Saturday, March 4 | 2PM - 3:30PM
Free, Register here: Poet's Nature Walk Registration

Take the upland trail                                                  The urban woods live 

Use your imagination                                                 Nature speaks to me today 

Write for fun with us                                                  As for the first time 

We’ll learn together how to think and look a little differently at the world around us and practice turning that experience into poems. No real secrets here, just an opportunity to slow down and wonder, then let that feeling bubble up for sharing with others!  

Art in the Arboretum: Forest Paintings Inspired by Emily Carr

For Elementary Age Explorers and Older

Saturday, March 4 | 12PM  
Free, Register here: Forest Paintings Registration

Join us on the Tree Terrace as we take a look at how artist Emily Carr tried to capture nature’s movement on paper—then make our own art! Supplies provided, and we’ll be following the lesson make from the blog  


Bilingual Winter Storytime

Thursday, Feb. 23 at 1 PM
Free; register here: Bilingual Winter Storytime

Pre-School - Elementary suggested

¡Únase a nosotros en el Centro de Educación Frances Plecker para una hora de cuentos para niños de preescolar bilingüe con cuentos, actividades y chocolate caliente! -- Join us at the Frances Plecker Education Center for a bilingual preschool story time with stories, activities, and hot chocolate! 

Wondercraft: Snowflakes

For Elementary and Up on a Day Off School (HCPS)!

Tuesday, Jan. 24 | 1PM  
Free, Register here: Snowflakes Registration

We’ll 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’re a beginner or have made entire blizzards before, we’ll have suggestions and instructions to step up your paper snowflake skills!  

Great Backyard Bird Count Activity Series, Feb. 17-20

Participate in this year's Great Backyard Bird Count at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum! We have prepared a slate of programs for adults and for families to assist you in learning about and enjoying our local birds. For more information on the Great Backyard Bird Count, visit



For preschoolers

Thurdsay, Feb. 16 at 10 AM

Free, Register here: Feathers Registration

Join us at the Frances Plecker Education Center to explore feathers and identify a few birds from their feather color. Participants will also enjoy some feather painting. 

Birding 101 for Kids

Monday, Feb. 20 at 3 PM

Free, Register here: Birding 101 Registration

Virginia Master Naturalists and Rockingham Bird Club members Sharon and Jay Landis will introduce elementary-aged youth to the fun of birding. We'll play a bird picture/facts matching game, learn how to look and listen for birds and how to use binoculars, discover some great technology tools to help in our birding. Then we'll go birding out in the Arboretum and tally our discoveries for the Great Backyard Bird Count!

Check out our Great Backyard Bird Count programs for adults here

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


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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