Your browser is not optimized for viewing this website.

More information »

Viles Arboretum

Our Classes

Outdoor Cooking


with Woodthrush Wilderness

Calendar Next available session starts Oct 1, 2023 at 9 am
1 additional session on Oct 1, 2023

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make delicious foods over a fire? This is the class for you. We will go over some favorite’s backcountry recipes.

In this course, we will go over how to cook with a Dutch Oven, Pie Irons, using wood sticks, gill over the fire, and camp stoves. We will even bring out the Coleman oven and bake some cookies.

Fiddlehead Basket


with Woodthrush Wilderness

Calendar Next available session starts Oct 20, 2023 at 4 pm

Learn to make your own traditional fiddlehead basket. All supplies and materials will be provided.

Youth from 12-17 must be accompanied by an adult. 

Landscaping for Wildlife


with First Light Wildlife Habitats

Calendar Next available session starts Oct 21, 2023 at 10 am

The Landscaping for Wildlife class, presented by First Light Wildlife Habitats, is an excellent opportunity to learn about ways you can create inviting habitats for local wildlife. Through this class, participants will learn ways to design and maintain their land to benefit a variety of native species - birds, mammals, butterflies, bees, and more. This class is for anyone who cares for a piece of land, at any scale (gardens, backyards, and beyond). Join us and learn how to promote native plant communities, healthy food webs, and thriving habitats for wildlife. Overall, the Landscaping for Wildlife class is an ideal way to develop a deeper connection to your local wildlife and how you can build better habitats at home.  

This 2-hour class will include a short informative presentation followed by an engaging in-depth walk around the Arboretum to further discuss and demonstrate the principles of landscaping for wildlife. 

Deborah Perkins is a wildlife ecologist with 30 years of experience and a lifelong commitment to conservation. As the owner of First Light Wildlife Habitats, Deb co-creates thriving yard, farm, and forestland habitats with stewards throughout the Northeast. Before settling down in her native state of Maine, she was a roving field biologist for many years – conducting fieldwork and wildlife research throughout North America in a wide range of habitats, from the deserts of New Mexico to the remote tundra landscape of the Canadian Arctic. Deb has researched coastal brown bears on salmon streams in the Alaskan wilderness, tracked Canada lynx, crawled into bear dens in the North Maine Woods, and banded puffins in Downeast Maine.

Pine Needle Basket


with Woodthrush Wilderness

Calendar Next available session starts Oct 27, 2023 at 4 pm

Learn to make your own traditional pine needle basket. All materials will be provided. 

Youth 12-17 must be accompanied by an adult. 

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.

Forgot password?
Staff Log In