FIELD TRIPS

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Field Trips

A local resource for enriching botanical educational experiences, the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum serves over 1,400 students per year on field trips with our guided tours. Docents lead engaging, age-appropriate outdoor tours through our forest and pond area to introduce students to forest ecology and wildlife identification.

Field trips are offered April through October, last 45 minutes to 1 hour, and are free of charge. See our Field Trip Guidelines for more information.

  1. Docent-Guided Tours: Tours are offered on weekdays during the school day and are capped at 20 students per tour, but we can often accommodate larger groups using a rotation cycle--please indicate your needs on the Field Trip Form, and we will happily talk with you about possiblities! 

    • Five Senses Tour (Preschool – 2nd): Through hands-on activities and play, students use their five senses to learn about the life cycles of trees and explore the habitats of animals such as ducks, salamanders, and flying squirrels. Allow 45 minutes to 1 hour per tour group.

    • Throw and Grow Seedballs Tour (Preschool - 3rd): Students make a seed ball (hardened mixture of soil, clay, and flower seeds) to take home and toss outside, encouraging the spread of native Virginia flora. Afterwards students take a tour of the Arboretum focused on seed dispersal and native plants. Allow 1 hour 15 minutes per tour group.

    • Forest Web Tour - Ecosystems (3rd – 6th): We'll explore how consumers, producers, and decomposers cooperate and compete to fully utilize all the resources a forest or a wetland can offer. Allow 45 minutes to 1 hour per tour group. 

    • NEW! The Forest Web--Human Impact on the Ecosystem Puzzle (6th-9th): Should we pave over the pond to create more parking? Why not? Students will explore the arboretum in teams to collect all kinds of ecosystem data to inform the opinions they will form. Great for thinking about policy making, cost/benefit tradeoffs, conservation, water systems, the value of trees, and the complex interactions all around an ecosystem.  Allow 75 minutes per 25 students.

    • Coming Soon: Watershed health and restoration (versions for younger and older students).

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  1. Self-Guided Tours: Offered weekdays between 9 am and 4 pm; maximum 120 students per day. Teachers are responsible to plan activities and instruction for their group. Educational Backpacks that include wildlife identification activities, field guides, and art supplies will be available for free rental in the Education Center. Backpacks include: Insect Investigators, Animal Tracks, Flowers and Pollination, Reptiles and Amphibians, All About Birds, and Macroinvertebrate Pond Study. More about the Backpack Program here!


To Schedule a Field Trip

Please complete the Field Trip Request Form below. Arboretum staff will email you within 5 business days to schedule your trip. If you have questions, email us at ejcarboretum@jmu.edu or call (540) 568-3194.

Please note that all dates are subject to availability and your field trip is not scheduled until you receive a confirmation email from Arboretum staff.

Schedule Field Trip

Field Trip Guidelines

Group Size

Docent-Guided Tours: Each tour is limited to 20 students per tour, but we can accommodate larger field trip groups with multiple tours. Minimum 10 students per day, maximum 60 students per day.

Docent-Guided Seedball Activity & Tour: Minimum 10 students per day, maximum 25 students per day.

Self-Guided Tours: Maximum 120 students per day.

Chaperones
We require a minimum of 1 adult chaperone per 10 students.

Lunch
Brown bag lunches or snack-type, individual carry-on foods and beverages are permitted. School field trips groups may reserve the pavilion in advance for lunch at no charge.  The pavilion has six large picnic tables (seating approximately 30-35 children) and is located near the Arboretum parking lot closest to Carrier Drive. Groups may also bring blankets to eat their lunches on the lawn.

Dress
Field trips take place entirely outdoors. Please dress appropriately for the outdoors and uneven terrain. We recommend comfortable walking shoes, hats, water, and sunscreen.

Weather
The Arboretum does not have indoor facilities for large groups to wait out inclement weather. Severe inclement weather automatically cancels guided tours and rescheduling is the group’s responsibility. If the weather is uncertain, call the Education Center at (540) 568-3194 before leaving school.

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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