Field Studies at Awbury Arboretum

Weekday mornings, 10:00am – 11:30pm

Educational programs with optional afternoon add-on activities.
Picnic facilities available for brown bag lunch.

Cost: $6 per child for morning program.  Group size minimum: 10.  Ages: Preschool – Middle school

Field Studies at Awbury Arboretum provide hands-on environmental education programs that can be tailored to meet your curriculum or specific age and ability related needs. Our programs focus on exposing young people to the natural world through fun activities and exploration. Digging in the soil, examining a seed, catching tadpoles or going on a bird hike are just some of the ways students can engage with nature while visiting Awbury. Our goal is for students to learn about and appreciate nature while having a great time. We provide trained Educators for the programs listed below and can be flexible regarding combining program elements.

Call 215-849-2855 ext 20 or email for more information.


Register for a Field Studies Session

(Class descriptions below)
  • Please check the lessons for which you would like to register, and provide requested dates in the field below.

    If you are not sure which program you prefer, you may leave "Lesson Options" blank and our Field Studies Director will make suggestions for your group.
  • Please indicate in the box above the date/s, and time/s (morning or afternoon) when you are interested in coming to Awbury. An Awbury staff person will contact you at the email that you have provided above to confirm your registration, arrange payment, and provide necessary information for your visit. We look forward to working with you!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Lesson Offerings for 2015:


Nature Explorers

What can you see when you visit Awbury? This program is a great way to get students outside and interacting with nature. A walking tour, often paired with an age appropriate scavenger hunt, will explore some of the Arboretum’s 39 acres with plenty of stops along the way at our meadows, woodland, and pond. Awbury is home to a large variety of native and some non-native plants and animals and the lesson can be paired with elements from many of the programs listed below.


bessbugCreepy, Crawly and Beautiful

Decomposers play an important part in our natural world. Students will learn about soil composition, the importance of soil for all living things and will be able to identify many of the animals that live in logs and underground. Students will have lots of opportunities to “get their hands dirty.”


snakeAnimals at Awbury

The Arboretum is home to many types of animals – mammals, amphibians, birds, insects… Students will learn about habitats and adaptations by direct observation and hands-on activities. Possibilities include collecting insects, bird-watching, exploring animal homes and discovering who lives in our pond. The program can be seasonally adjusted and can be combined with indoor activities including owl pellet dissection.


naturepoetryGrowing Green at Awbury

We like to say that our Arboretum is a “tree museum” but it isalso muchmore than that. Students will have the opportunity to find our what grows at Awbury from moss to our tallest tree. Plant-parts and their roles to what happens during seasonal changes will be covered at an age-appropriate level. A scavenger hunt gives students the chance for hands-on exploration while visiting different parts of the Arboretum.


Pond Lesson 2Pond Exploration

The pond at Awbury is a great place for students to learn about the animals that live in and rely on our pond, watersheds, pollution, and native and non-native plants and animals. Students will have hands-on opportunities to see what lives in the pond and will be able to examine many of the macro-invertebrates, and maybe even some amphibians and birds, that call Awbury’s pond home.


lenapeThe Lenape Lived Here

The Arboretum has everything you need to survive but you may need the knowledge of the Lenape to do so. Students will learn about Lenape culture and diet and will get to see artifacts and play games that develop important skills needed for survival. A hike through the Arboretum will focus students’ attention on what life might have been like.


mothThe Secret Life of Backyard Bugs

Most of the animals alive today are invertebrates, and insects make up the largest group of animals without backbones. Students will learn about different types including butterflies, beetles, bees and grasshoppers. Many of these are incredibly beneficial and students will learn the ways that they impact other living things. The visit will include a trip to our meadow where students will be able to catch and examine many different types of insects.


photo5_editWilderness Survival

How would you live if you suddenly found yourself needing to survive at the Arboretum? There is a great deal to help you meet the basic needs of food, water and shelter if you only know where to look. Students will learn what plants contain effective bug protection, what trees store water and which ones have leaves that make good teas. Students will be challenged to think critically about what is necessary to survive. Can be connected with the Newbury award winning book, Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen.


Asian Pear - Permaculture Orchard (2)Trees, Seeds and Leaves

A seed lands on the ground – how did it get there, what will it turn into, what does it need to survive? Students will learn about the life cycle of a plant and the important work of leaves. Students will collect seeds during a hike through the Arboretum and during the fall, the bulb planting can be included as part of the visit.


honeybeeFlowers, Fruits and Pollinators

People are naturally attracted to flowers, and it is a good thing that some animals are too! Students will learn about different plants and flowers by examining actual plant parts and taking a hike through the Arboretum. The important job of pollinators will be explored and students will learn about the amazing life of honey bees through hands-on activities.


5 SensesEspecially for our Pre-K Visitors

Awbury is a wonderful place for our youngest learners with lots of opportunities for hands-on exploration. All of the programs listed above can be tailored for pre-K students, and we often include a 5 senses connection to the planned activities. We understand how important it is to encourage learning through playing.



Special Partner Programs:

If you’d like to extend your stay at Awbury into the afternoon, consider the programs below.

  • Environmentally Aware:

We are pleased to be able to offer you a special program, Environmentally Aware, as an additional afternoon add on at no charge. The program encourages students to be aware of their surroundings and uses guided meditation, yoga and poetry and the sounds of nature to support mindfulness. The program is free of charge but is limited to 10 students/campers 10 years old and under and up to 15 students 11 years and older. If you plan to stay for a picnic lunch and then spend time in the arboretum afterwards, this is a fantastic opportunity for a select group. The program is not available all dates, please let us know if you are interested or would like more information and someone will contact you.

Kim Empson is the Community Coordinator for Springboard Meditation Sangha located on Carpenter Lane in Mt. Airy. She has practiced meditation and studied Buddhism and Mindfulness since 2011. She has been an outdoor educator for 10 years.