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: $7 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.
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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.
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.
Observing birds is a wonderful activity for students! Awbury’s birding program offers students, pre-k through middle school, a chance to see birds in different habitats as well as learn about adaptations and develop observation skills. Birds provide an opportunity to explore a variety of concepts including food webs, ecosystems and climate change. Over 125 different bird species have been seen at Awbury Arboretum over the last 15 years thanks to the many plants that provide food and cover for both year-round and migratory birds. Birding can be a stand alone program or combined with other Field Studies lessons.
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.
Touring and Tasting at the Agricultural Village
Awbury’s Agricultural Village is a dynamic place with partners raising bees, chickens and goats, growing food that is sold in local markets and growing plants for dyeing fabric. There is even a food forest. 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.
Hands-on goat programming can be included for an additional $3 fee.
Special Partner Programs:
If you’d like to extend your stay at Awbury into the afternoon, consider the programs below.