Field Studies at Awbury Arboretum
Weekday mornings, 10:00am – 11:30pm
Environment Educational OR Farm 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 education programs that can be tailored to meet your curriculum or specific age and ability related needs.
Option 1: Environmental education programs at Awbury Arboretum’s main campus 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.
Option 2: Farm Programs at Awbury Arboretum’s Agricultural Village focus on exploring our 16-acre urban farm dedicated to food and flower production and education. Different areas showcase current urban agricultural practices. In addition to Awbury’s initiatives, a number of partners use the site including non-profits, neighbors, local community businesses, and Penn State.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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.
Animals 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.
We like to say that our Arboretum is a “tree museum” but it is also much more 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is an area of our Agricultural Village that contains a variety of plants that can be eaten and used for medicine including many that may surprise you. Students will learn about the steps involved with growing food starting with seeds and extending through pollination and seasonal considerations. The program can also include information about whole vs. processed foods and nutrition.
Touring and Tasting at the Agricultural Village
Students will be given a guided tour through the 16-acre property and will learn about the many exciting things going on in urban agriculture today. Stops along the way will allow for tasting seasonal produce.
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.