Your browser is not optimized for viewing this website.

More information »

Viles Arboretum

Filter by Category

Classes and Workshops

Medicinal Plant Walks


with Debra Bluth

Calendar Next available session starts Jun 10, 2023 at 10 am

On this walk, we'll meet some plants, both wild and cultivated, and learn how they might be used from an herbal, homeopathic, or flower essence perspective.  Some plants might be very familiar (often our local weeds are actually wonderful medicinals), while others might be less well-known.  We'll talk about identifying factors, parts of the plants used, and preparation. Come be nourished by spending time with these healing friends.

There will be the opportunity to taste tinctures made from plants found on this walk. 

Please dress for the weather. We recommend footwear such as boots or hiking shoes you dont mind getting dirty. 

Debra Bluth, CCH, is an herbalist, homeopath, flower essence practitioner, and movement teacher with a practice in midcoast Maine and online.  She also is affiliated with Delta Gardens, a center for flower essence research, education, and practice located in NH.  

We do not wish for the price of this program to be a barrier for anyone interested in attending, and have several scholarship opportunities available.  Please reach out to us by emailing for more information.. 

Beginner Bird Walks


with Lauren Kircheis

Calendar Next available session starts Jun 17, 2023 at 8 am

Have you wanted to get into birding but not known where to start? Maybe you have started backyard birding but are looking to expand your horizons? Join us on one of our popular bird walk tours to and to learn more about bird ID, habitat and behavior. 

Lauren Kircheis, Viles Arboretum Program Manager, will be leading these walks. She has an expansive knowledge on Maine's birds and their biology. These classes are welcoming to all skill levels. No equipment or prior knowledge is required, we just recommend good shoes! Each walk runs between 1.5 and 2 hours, we usually cover a little over a mile on foot at a slow pace.  

A limited number of binoculars and bird books are available in the Visitor Center to borrow. 

Nature Literacy Through the Eyes of a Tracker


with Maine Primitive Skills School

Calendar Next available session starts Jun 18, 2023 at 3 pm

Hosted in partnership with Maine Primitive Skills School.

Gain skills in sensory awareness, wild life tracking and natural movement to increase your ability to see what is around us every day.

This is an outdoor program, class meets on the back lawn behind the Visitor Center. Please come prepared for the elements (weather, insects, etc). 


Eat your Invasives
Registration Unavailable

Eat your Invasives


with Lauren Kircheis

Calendar Next session starts Sep 8, 2023 at 3 pm

Did you know that many of our most common invasive plant species found here in Maine are excellent wild edibles? As species such as knotweed, autumn olive, shrubby honeysuckles and more continue to take hold in our backyards we can help combat their aggressive tendencies by carefully harvesting them as wild edibles. 

In this program we will take a walk on the Arboretum grounds to ID invasive plant species and discuss their indiviual usefulness as wild edibles. This particular program will have a heavy focus on autumn olive as we will be harvesting this easy-to-id species as a group to use in a batch of jam. 

The program will conclude in the Viles Room with the opportunity to participate in making a batch of autumn olive jam and tasting of some choice edibles. Each participant will have the opportunity to take home a small jar of the jam that is made in this class.

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. 

Forgot password?
Staff Log In