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Viles Arboretum

Our Classes

Make your Own Balsam Fir Wreath


with Lauren Kircheis

Calendar Next session starts Dec 16, 2023 at 10 am
1 additional session on Dec 16, 2023

Learn to make your own double-sided fir wreath for the holidays! Wreath making has long been an important tradition and cottage industry in the state of Maine. These gorgeous wreaths make a great addition to your home holiday decor, or use it as a gift with a personal touch! A small selection of ribbon, bows, fruit and other decorative items will be available. Feel free to bring any decorative items you may already have to decorate your wreath!

The price reflects the cost per-wreath kit. Families or groups are welcome to buy and work on a single wreath kit. A few extra kits may be available to purchase at the event on a first-come-first-serve basis. The class is hosted outdoors in our timber-frame barn, while the space is equipped with a pellet stove, we recommend bringing layers. This class is appropriate for most age groups. 

Full Course

Frost Fair


with Viles Arboretum

Calendar Next available session starts Dec 16, 2023 at 11 am
2 additional sessions through Dec 16, 2023

Join us for pictures with Santa, and seasonally-themed crafts! This event is geared towards children and their families. 

  • $5 per child
  • FREE for members of the Arboretum (join today)

**Pre-registration is required for each individual child who will be participating in photos with Santa or crafts.

Location: Visitor Center and surrounding courtyard

Attendees of all ages and abilities should be able to participate in most aspects of this event. Activities located outdoors may require a short walk on uneven and sloped ground

Full Moon Guided Forest Bathing Experience


with Constance Woodworth

Calendar Next available session starts Dec 26, 2023 at 4 pm

Join Constance Woodworth, Founder of WorthIt Nature and Forest Therapy Connections, as she guides you through a calm, centering connection with the land. I am certified through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs. I am fully insured and hold my wilderness first aid certificate.

-Join me for physical wellness: 2 hours among evergreens invokes in humans a 56% increased production of a specific white blood cell called the “NK Cell”; its job is to attack all dead and dying cells - this increased production has been measured to last 32 days after 1 two hour experience. The color green is calming to view. Cortisol and blood pressure levels drop. Dopamine and serotonin levels increase.

-Join me to build a stronger connection to the Earth and the More-than-Human World. Inhale the geosmin. Offer gratitude to the trees. Ask the sky for guidance. Observe the playful squirrels and birds. Allow the land to be your place of rest or rejuvenation.

We will slowly journey through the grounds, noticing twilight and the moon. This practice can be restorative and calming. 

We start with a somatic meditative experience, then we will journey through partnership invitations that the land will offer. We will end with a texture gathering and Forest Tea.

This is a trauma informed practice. If anything seems unappealing or uncomfortable you are not expected to participate - make it comfortable for you.

Children under 5 are free!

To Learn more about WorthIt please visit

Soups on Me - Spoon Carving and Gourd Bowl Crafting


with Woodthrush Wilderness

Calendar Next available session starts Feb 18, 2024 at 1 pm

Make your own dining set with Jessica Steele of Wood Thrush Wilderness! In this class students will craft their own practical wooden spoon and gourd bowl. If desired, participants will have the opportunity to decorate their creations with paint, or try their hand at woodburning. 

At the end of the class we will enjoy a group meal of soup and bread with our new spoons and bowls - soups on me!

This class will be held in our Viles Room, a heated indoor space. The meal at the end of the class will be provided by the instructor. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian. 

Guide Pack Basket


with Woodthrush Wilderness

Calendar Next available session starts Feb 24, 2024 at 9 am

In this course, we will weave a 17” tall basket with premium reed. We will go over the history of pack baskets and what materials have been used. The instructor will go through the process of making the basket step-by-step ensuring all will walk away with a finished basket. The baskets will have a base and feet along with pack straps. We will bring a variety of color straps and even color reeds to add a little color to your basket.

School Field Trips


with Education Team


For additional information please reach out to Lauren Kircheis, Programs Manage at

Program Rates

STANDARD YOUTH PROGRAMS: All 1.5 hour programs are offered for the same price per student. $8 per student. No charge for staff and chaperones. $80 trip minimum.

CUSTOM YOUTH PROGRAMS: Don't see a program that suits your needs? We are happy to develop aprogram specific to your curriculum. Add an additional $50 to your field trip total.

Syrup Making

Available Mid-March Through Early April

Maple syrup production is an important part of Maine's history and culture. In this program we will learn how to identify different types of maple trees during the winter when there are no leaves to guide us. When we find our desired trees, students will help Arboretum staff set up a tap line for sap collection. A longer variation of this program with a sap boiling and syrup tasting demonstration can be arranged for an additional cost. This program is completely outside. Be prepared for cold weather conditions.

Vernal Pool/Pond Exploration

Available Late March Through August

What makes a vernal pool a vernal pool? Why would amphibians want to lay their eggs in temporary water sources when there are permanent sources of water all around them? Vernal pools are a fleeting oasis for many unique forest species in Maine. Unfortunately they are threatened by human activities. In this field trip we will discuss ways to identify vernal pools, and ways that we can protect them. We will find some real vernal pools at the Arboretum and get a behind-the-scenes look into these complex and fragile ecosystems.

Soil Chemistry

Availble Year-round

Chemistry is often a difficult subject for students to grasp. We aim to make this complex concept fun and engaging through conducting experiments in our new "Learning Garden". Students will help Arboretum staff prepare the garden for planting by conducting soil chemistry experiments, measuring key nutrients and testing soil pH. This program features real life experiments with colorful reactants. An excellent program for elementary and middle school students.

Tree ID/Forestry

Available Year-round

Learn to better identify our native Maine trees by looking at bark, buds, branching, leaves and even smell. We will discuss the importance of knowing how to ID trees and how trees play an important role in the lives of humans and wildlife. This program can be scaled to suit all age levels. A forest measurement component can be applied to programs offered to high school students if desired.

Nature Walk

Available Year-round

A classic nature walk program that focuses on the interests of your students. Each nature walk covers the history of the Arboretum, the purpose of our botanical collections and the importance of trees to wildlife and humans. Program content changes seasonally, where a spring program could cover topics such as bird migration and vernal pool life, a fall program might focus more on the science behind changing leaves. Can be scaled to accommodate all age levels.

Snowshoeing/Nordic Skiing Tours

Available Weather Permitting

An excellent program for students of all ages! Participants are encouraged to bring their own equipment if they have it. We are able to provide free equipment rentals to those who do not own their own equipment on a first-come-first-served basis. This program will overview basic technique and equipment use. Once participants are comfortable, we will embark on a winter tour of the Arboretum. Groups are encouraged to show up half an hour before the start of their program to allow time for equipment fitting.

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